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^hc 'i^hinb fecturcs for 1901 

^ebiseb anb grcatig cnlargti 


gnblislitrs to tht ambtreity. 


Neui York, ■ 
Toronto, - • 
London, • • 
Cambritige, • 
Edinburgh, • 
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The Macmiiian Co. 

The Macmiiian Co. of Canada. 

SimpUin, Hatnilton and Co. 

Bowes and Bo^ves,. 

Douglas and Fouln, 

Angus and Robertson. 

</' f:iiiiiiiir;iii. 

IM.^IlUl' DoWliK.N 














Biographical Sketch ------ xv 

Introduction -------- i 


The Foundation of the Bishoprics, and of the 

Metropolitan Sees ------ 7 

The foundation of the medieval bishoprics — Peculiarity in respect 
to Dunblane — Early attempts to obtain a metropolitan frustrated — 
The grievance with respect to appeals to the Apostolic See — Grant to 
hear first appeals made to Bishop Trail in 1386 — The erection of the 
Bishoprics of St. Andrews in 1472 and of Glasgow in 1492 to 
archbishoprics with metropolitan rights — The opposition external 
and internal to these erections — Exemptions of suffragans from the 
jurisdiction of metropolitans — Examples of similar exemptions in 


The Appointment of Bishops in Scotland during 

the Medieval Period - - - - - 18 

References to the voice of the people in episcopal elections — 
The claims of the keledei at St. Andrews — The three canonical 
modes of capitular elections — What was meant by ' postulation,' 
Papal reservation, and ' provisions ' — The claims of the Pope 
gradually advanced, and not resisted in Scotland till a late period — 
Illustrative examples from Scottish history of the three modes of 
election and of postulation — Peculiar concession to the city clergy 
of Aberdeen — In Argyll all the clergy had a voice — Disputes in 
Galloway on the right of others than the chapter to elect. 




The Scottish Crown and the Episcopate in the 

Medieval Period --___- 42 

Disputes as to investiture — Possible attempts to influence episcopal 
elections by holding the elections at the royal court — The conge 
d'el'tre from the king, the rule in Scotland — The royal influence as 
a matter of fact dominant — Practical concordate between the Crown 
and the Pope as to the appointment to prelacies in the fifteenth 
and sixteenth centuries. 

The Cathedrals ---__-_ 55 

The choice of the sites of the episcopal sees — Sketch of the 
constitutions of the cathedrals, and of their internal organisation — 
The canons of the Scottish cathedrals, except those of St. 
Andrews and Whitherne, were seculars, united in a * collegium ' 
but each having a separate prebend — Parochial vicars — The four 
' principales personae' — How the dean and canons were appointed 
— The vicars of the choir and boy choristers — The constitution 
of the Cathedral of Ross. 

The Cathedrals — Continued - 


Frequency of non-residence — The bishops and canons in 
some cathedrals — Influence of Lincoln on Moray and of Sarum 
on Glasgow — The meetings of the chapter — The general Whit- 
suntide chapter ; other meetings for business — The Saturday 
chapter — Discipline — Scottish kings canons of Glasgow — Relation 
of bishop and dean in matters of discipline — Pensionary prebends — 
Scanty information in respect to St. Andrews — Houses of residence 
of the secular canons — The building and upkeep of cathedral 
fabrics — The upkeep of the ornamcnta of the cathedrals — 
Cathedral libraries — The 'annualc' of the canons. 




Collegiate Churches ------ 105 

Collegiate churches of late origin — Constitution : purpose, to 
serve as dignified chantries : personal residence required : manses 


Parishes, and the Parochial Clergy - - - m 

Origin of parishes — Rectors and vicars ; the appropriation of 
parish churches; injurious efFects of appropriation — 'Ordinary 
burdens' of parishes — 'Synodals' and 'procurations' — Attempt 
to secure a decent maintenance for vicars' — Great disproportion 
between the revenues of rectors and vicars — The * farming ' of 
parish churches — Annexation of benefices to bishoprics, abbeys, 
and priories forbidden by Parliament — Rectors not always in 
holy orders — Manses ; the law as to their construction and 
upkeep — Clergy engaged for a salary but without fixity of 
tenure — The parish clerk elected by the parishioners — Meaning 
of the word * Plebania ' — Meaning of the term ' Altarage.' 


The Parish Church and its Privileges. Churches 

Specially Privileged as Sanctuaries - - 139 

The structure and furniture as required by law — The font — 
The 'chrysom' or 'cude' — Fonts ordinarily restricted to parish 
churches — Ordinances to preserve the sanctity of churches and 
churchyards — The right of affording protection to fugitives 
possessed by all parish churches and churches having the right 
of sepulture — Churches specially privileged as sanctuaries — Large 
extent of the grith — Some notable sanctuaries — Sanctuaries not 
an unmixed evil — Illustrations of the law of sanctuary from 
Parliamentary legislation, 


The Revenues of the Church. (I) Lands - - 155 

Tenure in frankalmoigne, what it signifies — Such grants not 
conferring freedom from obligations to the Crown, unless made 



or confirmed by the Crown — Obligation to attend the king's 
* hostings ' — Tenure in frankalmoigne often qualified by reservations 
— Contrast between England and Scotland — Freedom from ' aids.' 


The Revenues of the Church. (II) Teinds - - 162 

Classification of teinds — Payment of tithes enforced by ecclesi- 
astical censures : required under penalty of excommunication : 
enforced by the king and great landowners — What things were 
tithable — Personal tithes — Rules for the apportionment of predial 
tithes — Rules as to fisheries — Money equivalents of tithes — How 
eggs, milk and cheese were tithed — Difficulty of collecting 
tithes — Questions as to tithes of hay and of mills — Exemptions 
from tithes — * Second tithes ' — The king's * teind penny ' from 
escheats — The tithe of the king's can. 


The Revenues of the Church. (Ill) Offerings - 179 

* Oblations ' after a time held to be * dues ' — The selling of 
the sacrament — Statutes enacted against making money out of 
spiritual ministrations — The corpse-present, an offensive impost. 


Relations of Church and State - - - - 191 

The homage and fealty of bishops — The king's claim to dispose 
of the temporalities of vacant sees, and to present to benefices — 
Acts of Parliament against * provisions ' — The freedom of Holy 
Church — The king's claim to the movable estate of deceased 
bishops — The spiritual estate in parliament : presence of inferior 
clergy — The parliament deals with matters ecclesiastical — The 
conflict of civil and ecclesiastical jurisdictions. 


Diocesan Organisation. Archdeacons and Deans 

of Christianity - - - - - - 213 

Each diocese had at least one archdeacon : St. Andrews and 
Glasgow had each two — V^isitorial powers of archdeacons and 



deans of Christianity — Functions of the deans — The deaneries of 
the various dioceses — Ruri-decanal chapters — Archdeacons commonly 
versed in civil and canon law — Their courts — The word 'archdean* 
a common and erroneous form for 'archdeacon' — The vicar 


The Synods or Councils of the Scottish Church 223 

The laws regulating the Scottish Church in the medieval period 
based on the general canon law of the Western Church — 
Dependence of the Scottish Church upon Rome — Three classes 
of councils : Legatine, summoned by a legate of the Pope ; 
Provincial, held under the special privilege granted by the Pope 
in the year 1225; Provincial or synods, after the establishment 
of the archbishoprics — The ceremonial of the opening of a 
provincial synod — The character of the business transacted — The 
constituent members — Episcopal, i.e. diocesan, synods — Note on 
Scottish legatine councils before the year 1225. 


The Statutes of Provincial and Diocesan Synods 242 

The Scottish statutes contain little that is peculiar to Scotland — 
The faith of the church — The sacraments : baptism ; confirma- 
tion ; penance ; the eucharist ; extreme unction ; matrimony ; 
orders — The burial of the dead — Holy days in relation to labour 
— The discipline of the clergy : the discipline of the laity. 


The Marriage Law of Medieval Scotland - - 251 

The law based on theological conceptions — Publicity enjoined 
for espousals and for marriage — Validity not dependent on publicity 
— The publication of banns — The impediments to matrimony 
arising from the prohibited degrees of consanguinity and affinity — 
Difference in the modes of the canonists and the civilians in 
computing degrees of relationship — Affinity, according to the 
canonists, created by illicit intercourse — Impediments created by 
spiritual relationship — Espousals and marriages of children : case 



of Elizabeth Mure — Legitimation of children by subsequent 
marriage of parents — This not sanctioned by the common law 
of England — Papal dispensations — Peculiar difficulties arising from 
impediments of consanguinity and affinity in a sparsely populated 


Canon Law as affected bv Papal Dispensations - 272 

Pluralities — Dispensations, with provisions to benefices, deprived 
the bishops of their legitimate influence — Murmuring of bishops — 
The piling up of preferments — Foreign ecclesiastics given benefices 
in Scotland — Papal indults to bishops and religious houses — 
Dispensations for illegitimate birth — Benefices in the Church for 
the bastards of the royal house and of the great nobles — Dispensa- 
tion for raising money on church property. 


The Ecclesiastical Courts ----- 285 

Spiritual jurisdiction of bishops and abbats — The consistorial 
court : matters coming under its jurisdiction — The officials — 
Matrimonial causes : what was meant by divorce — Major's com- 
plaint as to the subornation of witnesses — Miscellaneous examples 
of the business of the court — The probate of wills — Threefold 
division of movable estate — Intestacy — Donative executors appointed 
by the ordinary — The penalty of excommunication, its gravity. 


The Celibacy of the Clergy. The Law of the 

Church and its Administration _ _ _ 308 

The rule of the celibacy of the clergy long disregarded — Attempts 
to enforce it in England : these unavailing — A similar state of 
things in Scotland — The Scottish statutes, formidable in language, 
but only imperfectly enforced — Ordinances of collegiate churches 
directed against concubinage — The state of the morals of the 
clergy in the sixteenth century illustrated from provincial statutes — 
Sir David Lyndesay's satire justified — The subject illustrated from 
the Calendar of Papal Registers. 



Papal Taxes, and Payments made to the Roman 

Court - 320 

Scotland's submission to the demands of the papal exchequer — 
Peter's pence — Tenths — First Fruits: 'Annates' — 'Commune Scr- 
vitium' — 'Minuta Servitia' — Bribes for the securing of coveted 
benefices — Excommunication for delay in paying charges of the 
Roman Court — Dispensations : Indulgences — Confirmations of 
Ecclesiastical property. 

Index 335 



Bishop Dowden ____-- Frontispiece 

Glasgow Cathedral from the West - - - i6 
Bishop Elphinstone -------40 

King James I. --------44 

King James II. -------- 46 

King James III. __-_--_ 48 
King James IV. -------50 

King James V.- - - - - - - - 52 

The Arbuthnot Prayer Book- - - - - 96 

The Arbuthnot Missal ------ 98 

Aberdeen Book of Hours- - - - - - 100 

Aberdeen Book of Hours- - - - - - 102 

The Perth Psalter - - - - - - -104 

Crucifix at Ceres - - - - - - -112 

Bible in Cathedral Church of Glasgow - - 116 
Bronze Censer, Old Church of Garvock - - 116 
Chalice of Silver and Wood - - - - - 120 

Altar Candlestick - - - - - - -120 



PiETA IN Stone, Churchyard of Banff - - - 124 

Stone Figure of Bishop, Rutherglen Church- - 124 

Bronze Figure of Christ, Greyfriars Church, 

Dumfries - - - - - - - -124 

The Ronnell Bell of Birnie - - - - 128 

Bell, from Castle of the Thanes of Old Cawdor 128 

The Breidbean, or Bell of St. Fillan - - - 128 

Bell, at Little Dunkeld - - - - - 132 

Bell, at Knowe of Saverough, Birsay - - - 132 

Sculptured Font at Chapel of St. Malrube, Skye 140 

Font at Inverkeithing 140 


My father was born on the 29th of June, 1840, in 
Cork, where his father, John Wheeler Dowden, a man 
well known and much respected for his kindness of heart 
and generous help in all good works, was a linen merchant 
in the city. Much has been said of the Irish qualities of 
my father, but in reality the Dowdens have no claim 
to Irish blood. The name is an English one, and can be 
found among the English settlers whom the great Earl of 
Cork brought over in the seventeenth century from the 
south of England, and who formed a small colony in the 
country town of Bandon, not far from Cork. It was a 
little walled town which boasted strong Protestant senti- 
ments and had over its gates this inscription : 

* Jew, Turk, Infidel, or Atheist, 
May enter here, but not a Papist.' 

It was from Bandon that my father's ancestors came. 
His father was a staunch Presbyterian and his mother, 
Alicia Bennett, a devout and earnest Churchwoman, but 
this difference in religious opinion did not cause any lack 
of harmony in the household, and my father constantly 
spoke with deep gratitude of how much he owed to both 
father and mother for the religious teaching of his early 


years. He learned both the Church Catechism and the 
Shorter Catechism, and was brought up under the gentle 
discipline of wise and loving parents, in a home where 
duty and simplicity ruled. At school he was bright and 
quick in learning, showing at an early age a strong 
liking for natural and experimental science, and at the 
same time taking a lively interest in literature and 
philosophy. He was always ready and anxious to learn, 
and had a great respect and admiration, which he carried 
all through life, for those who taught him or who in any 
way imparted knowledge to him. 

He had not many intimate school friends, but his younger 
and only brother Edward ^ was, in spite of the three years 
between them, his most congenial companion. They had 
many interests in common, the same love of books, the 
same desire for knowledge ; and though upon some 
subjects, history in particular, they took opposite views, 
this did not lessen their affection for each other, which 
only increased with years. 1 do not know whether in their 
long arguments on the merits of Cavalier and Roundhead 
or of Wellington and Napoleon they ever convinced 
each other. My uncle used to defend the Roundhead, 
and with real eloquence put forward the claims of the 
French Revolution and the greatness of Napoleon, only 
to have some stern historical ' fact ' or a crushing quotation 
flashed upon him from my father. I believe, when shown 
how splendidly the French fought and with what bravery 
the Old Guard had always distinguished themselves and 
how the French ought to have won at Waterloo, my father 

^ Professor of English Literature in the University, Dublin, since 


would triumphantly get his history (an abridgment of 

Alison) and bring the controversy to a close by reading 

with great emphasis ' The Scots Greys, the Queen's Bays, 

and the Inniskillen Dragoons rode down and over the 

French at Waterloo'; — a terrible ^fact' and one to 

which there was no reply. 

But these were early boyish days and hardly worth 

recalling if it were not that so often ' the child is father of 

the man,' and that in later years, when arguments of a 

more weighty kind were brought before my father, he had 

the same way of stating facts and of bringing many 

quotations of historical precedent to bear upon his side of 

the case. At sixteen he gained a classical scholarship at 

Queen's College, Cork, and about eighteen months later 

he went to Dublin to be examined for Trinity College, 

and for some months lived with a cousin of his mother, 

the Rev. George Salmon (afterwards Provost of Trinity 

College, Dublin), who was chosen to be his tutor. At 

that time nothing had been decided with regard to his 

future career ; indeed, the general opinion was that he 

would enter the medical profession as he had shown a 

strong liking for it and had already studied medicine with 

much interest for a short time before leaving Cork. But 

his leaning towards the ministry was stronger, and, 

though no pressure was put upon him at home, both his 

father and mother readily approved of his decision to work 

for Holy Orders. In 1858 he entered Trinity College, 

Dublin, where he distinguished himself, obtaining his 

B.A. degree in 1861 with First-Class honours in Logic 

and Ethics, winning thereby a Senior Moderatorship and 

gold medal. He was not less distinguished in the 



Divinity course, where he took First-Class in all the 

In the various College Societies he took an active part, 
the Philosophical and Theological in particular, and in 
1862 he delivered the inaugural address before the 
Theological Society, his subject being, * Aids to Personal 
Religion afforded by Mental Science.' It was a remarkable 
paper for so young a man, and was published, and roused 
much interest at the time. In 1864 he was ordained deacon 
by the Bishop of Kilmore, and the same year he married 
and went as curate to St. John's Church, Sligo. Here he 
learned the work and organization of a large parish, with its 
four schools and a country mission, while the relationship 
between him and his rector, the Rev. Edward Day, was of 
the most delightful kind. 

In 1865 the Bishop of Kilmore ordained him priest, and 
in 1867 he was made perpetual curate (incumbent) of 
Calry Church, Sligo. This was also a large parish with 
plenty of work to be done, some of which, I fancy, cannot 
have been very congenial to a man with such a scholarly 
bent of mind, but he always looked back with great 
pleasure on the eight years he spent so happily in Sligo, 
where he gained much experience, made life-long friend- 
ships, and was ' passing rich ' on /^yo a year. 

My recollection of my father at this time is of a tall 
man with wonderfully bright blue eyes and very dark 
hair, who, though in a sense awe-inspiring, was much 
sought after by his children. The studv, where 'noise, 
toys, and crying' were not allowed, was a paradise for us, 
and what happy hours we had there ! Somehow tovs 
did find their way into it, and my father's books, even 


folios when not too heavy, were found very usetul to 
build castles and forts with, while our laughter and what 
was called ' subdued merriment ' did not come under the 
head of noise. The last part of the rule was more rigor- 
ously kept, though I do remember going to the study in 
tears and having them dried there. We did, I think, try 
to be quiet while my father worked, and when he had 
finished his writing he would play with us, or read to us, 
or tell us wonderful and delightful stories. 

In 1870, while still in Sligo, he was made chaplain 
to Earl Spencer, Lord-lieutenant of Ireland. His duties 
as vice-regal chaplain were light, and meant little more 
than going to Dublin to preach in the Chapel Royal when 
it was his turn to do so. Two years later he was 
appointed assistant curate to Archdeacon Lee at St. 
Stephen's, Dublin. 

During this time the Church of Ireland was much 
disturbed by the proposed revision of the Prayer Book, 
and the minds of many scholars were turned towards 
the study of the various forms of liturgy used in churches 
other than their own, and possibly it was in this way that 
my father's interests in the Scottish Episcopal Church 
were awakened. But of that I am not sure. He was 
already acquainted with its history, and was familiar with 
its Communion Office, the beauty of which no doubt 
appealed to him. A personal friend, the Rev. Percy 
Robinson, was headmaster of Glenalmond, and I believe 
it was due to him that my father's name was brought 
to the notice of the late Bishop Forbes of Brechin. He, 
with the other Scottish Bishops, in 1874, offered my 
father, much to his surprise, the post of Pantonian 


Professor of Theology in the Theological College, which 
at that time was at Glenalmond, Perthshire. 

He accepted the offer and came to Scotland, throwing 
himself enthusiastically into his new work, nor did his 
ardour seem to lessen on his finding himself a professor 
with only one student. That student, however, wished 
to learn, and was able to profit by the zeal and energy 
of his professor. But the most ardent teacher with only 
one pupil must have many hours to spare, and these my 
father devoted to the careful study of the Scottish Com- 
munion Office, a subject upon which, in later years, he 
became the accepted authority. He was very happy at 
Glenalmond, and the students increased to five or six in 
number, which gave a little more scope to his energy. 

In 1875, ^ serious fire broke out, and, in spite of the 
excellent services rendered by both the boys and masters, 
half the college was burned to the ground. 1 have heard 
my father describe with much amusement the formality 
with which the alarming news was announced to him. 
He was working in the library, called the Jolly Library 
after the saintly bishop to whom the books in it had 
belonged, when, after a gentle tap at the door, one of the 
senior boys came quietly in and waited to be questioned. 
My father was rather surprised, as he had nothing what- 
ever to do with the school or the boys, who only came to 
his house (which was part of the college) by invitation, or 
with a note from some of the masters, and he at once 
asked what was wanted. To which the youthful herald, 
with many apologies for intruding, replied, ' I thought you 
might like to know. Sir, that the college is on fire ! ' As 
soon as my father's living possessions were in safety his 


thoughts went to the books belonging to the Theological 
Library, and he ran to the room in the central tower where 
most of these were kept, to see if there was still a possibility 
of saving them. Then he and his students were seen 
running up and down the long staircase which led to the 
library, their arms laden with folios, which were deposited 
in some safe place out of reach of the flames. But the fire 
spread rapidly, and the time for saving the books became so 
limited, that the only way of doing so was to throw the 
remaining volumes from the windows. To do this with as 
litde harm to them as possible was the next thing to be 
thought of. To fling them far out with a dexterous swing 
of the arm, which sent them whirling horizontally through 
the air, so that they should not open in their fall, was found 
to be the best method, and in this way most, if not all of 
the books were saved. They can still be seen in Coates 
Hall, Rosebery Crescent, Edinburgh, where, in spite of 
the traces of mud and water which many of them bear to 
this day, they now form a useful and valuable part of the 
library of the Theological College. 

After the fire some of the bishops thought it would 
be advisable to move the Theological College to Edin- 
burgh, its original home, the remoteness of Glenalmond 
having been found a real drawback to the students, and 
after some difiiculty this was agreed to, and the college 
was moved to Edinburgh. The students lived in rooms, 
and my father lectured to them, at first in his own lodg- 
ings and afterwards in old Coates House, Manor Place. 
Later on, a house was taken which served as a college, 
a vice-principal was appointed to live with the students, 
and my father, who had taken his D.D. degree at 


Trinity College, Dublin, in 1876, lectured to them 
daily. His great desire that only the very best men, well 
educated and well trained, should take Holy Orders, 
made him extremely strict both as a teacher and in 
examinations ; but at the same time there was no trouble 
he would not willingly take, in order to help or encourage 
his pupils in careful study, and he made every effort to 
inspire them with a love of accurate work for its own sake. 
He always put his best into whatever he did himself, and 
could not tolerate careless or inaccurate work in others. 
Teaching with him meant instilling into the pupil an 
absolute and thorough knowledge of the subject. He 
would explain the matter again and again with marvellous 
clearness and with all the fire of his illuminative power, 
and would give examples ad infinitum till he thought all 
possible doubt had been removed. 

Then he would sometimes ask ' Now do you under- 
stand .'' ' And if he detected a shadow of uncertainty in 
an affirmative reply, he promptly placed himself in the 
position of pupil by the alarming demand, ' Very well, then, 
explain it to me.' It was a sound, though sometimes 
painful, test of how far the student had grasped the 
subject in hand. Still teaching was a labour of love to 
him, and when his students distinguished themselves in 
the Oxford and Cambridge examinations (preliminary to 
Holy Orders) as they not infrequently did, no one was 
prouder of them or derived greater pleasure trom their 
success, than my father. 

Perhaps one of his most marked characteristics was the 
immense pleasure he took in the success of others. A 
recognition of thoughtful study, or an honour bestowed 


upon someone for careful or original work gave him 
infinitely greater pleasure than any honour or glory for 
himself would have done. 

In 1884, he published The Annotated Scottish Communion 
Office, which he dedicated to the bishops and clergy of 
the American Church. This book is, in itself, an 
example of the careful and painstaking labour he gave 
to all his work, and, though now out of print for many 
years, is still the standard work on this subject. 

In 1885-6, he was Donnellan Lecturer in the Uni- 
versity of Dublin, and, in 1886-7, Select Preacher there, 
and Select Preacher in Cambridge in 1888. 

In 1886, when the See of Edinburgh was vacant through 
the death of Bishop Cotterill, my father was mentioned as 
his successor, but on hearing that Canon Liddon was also 
going to be proposed, he asked to have his own name 
withdrawn. Canon Liddon, however, while considering 
the offer of the bishopric * the greatest honour that had 
ever been done him in the whole course of his life,' did 
not see his way to accept it, and my father was then 
elected. He was consecrated on the 21st of September, 
1886, by the Bishops of St. Andrews, Aberdeen, Argyll, 
Brechin, Glasgow, Moray and Ross, and the Bishop of 
Durham (Dr. J. B. Lightfoot), who travelled from Brae- 
mar to be present at the ceremony, a mark of esteem and 
friendship which my father much appreciated. The Rev. 
Dr. Salmon, whose friendship my father valued so much, 
came from Dublin, and preached a remarkable sermon on 
* Episcopacy in relation to Unity.' The change from 
professorial duties to those of a diocesan was great, and 
my father felt all the responsibility of coming after so 


great a man as Bishop Cotterill, but he was comparatively- 
young, forty-six, and he threw himself with his usual energy 
into his new life. He could not, however, entirely break, 
his connection with the students, and he retained the 
post of Bell Lecturer at the college, where he lectured 
once a week during the term. In this way he never 
lost touch with the students, and his interest in them 
and in the welfare of the college was keen to the very 
end. His last lecture was given there two days before 
his death. 

During his long episcopate of over twenty-three years 
he laboured with untiring zeal for the welfare of his 
diocese and the good of the Church at large, putting his 
best unsparingly into all his work, and giving gladly of 
his knowledge and learning to all who sought them. He 
was always ready to listen to his clergy, or to members of 
their satisfied or dissatisfied congregations, to help, to 
encourage, to advise, or to admonish if need be, and no 
one ever came to him in a difficulty without getting 
careful and thoughtful help. He was a true scholar ; his 
search after truth, his love of accuracy, his determination 
to find out facts before giving judgment made his opinion 
of real value ; and his great fairness of mind, his reverent 
handling of history, and his ready and loyal obedience all 
through life to those placed in authority over him made 
him, when he became a bishop, a firm and wise ruler of 

In controversies he was a most generous opponent, and 
he must often have found it difficult to restrain his quick 
and trenchant power of reply, which sometimes flashed 
out like a rapier thrust to the complete disarming of his 


adversary. He was, however, very indifferent to attacks 
made upon himself, and in the early days of his episcopate 
these were fairly frequent and sometimes venomous, and 
on these occasions when asked what he was going to do, 
he generally replied, ' Oh, I shall take no notice.' But 
when some other person was the victim of an unfair 
attack, especially if that person were not in a position to 
defend himself, then there was no hesitation, and my 
father showed himself to be a vigorous fighter and a fear- 
less champion on behalf of what he thought right and 
just, but he never wished to hurt or wound, and it was 
only with shams or ' superior people ' that he ever dealt 
really severely. His reason for not saying sharp things, 
which would have displayed his wit and power of repartee, 
was very simple and characteristic of him, and though the 
sparkling of his eyes sometimes betrayed a brilliant satirical 
thought, it often remained unsaid, because to say it 
' wouldn't have been kind.' 

During the summer of 1890 my father was far from 
well, but he made very light of it, and no real attention 
was paid to the matter at the time. In November he 
became extremely ill, and in January, 1891, a serious 
operation was thought advisable. Happily, under the 
care of clever doctors and most skilful surgeons, he made 
a complete recovery. His own brightness and gaiety 
made the long months of his convalescence full of happi- 
ness for us and those around him. To ' bear much 
suffering with Christian resignation ' suggests a certain 
amount of gloom, and gloom was unknown in the 
presence of my father, nor can the word resignation ever 
be applied to his cheerful and ready acceptance of life with- 


all its difficulties. Of him, as of another teacher, it may 
be said : 

' In the gloom of November we pass'd 

Days not dark at thy side ; 

Seasons impair'd not the ray 

Of thy buoyant cheerfulness clear.' 
* If, in the paths of the world, 

Stones might have wounded thy feet, 

Toil or dejection have tried 

Thy spirit, of that we saw 

Nothing — to us thou wast still 

Cheerful, and helpful, and firm ! ' 

As he improved in health his intellectual activity- 
returned with renewed force, and it was not easy to 
prevent him from overtaxing his strength in his desire to 
make up for the months he had been laid aside. Some 
one suggested T^j/Z^^ lente as a wise motto, but his activity 
of both mind and body made it impossible for him to 
take life easily, and early in the autumn of the same year 
he was in the full swing of work once more. The only 
traces of his long illness were his deeply bowed figure and 
his almost snow-white hair, which contrasted curiously 
with his keen, bright eyes and youthful, springy step, but 
which, no doubt, made him look ten or twelve years 
older than he really was. It amused him when, a few 
years later, he was described in some Amcricaii papers as 
the ' venerable Bishop of Edinburgh,' and reference was 
made to ' the picturesque figure of this venerable bishop.' 
And indeed he did look picturesque and venerable, though 
only fifty-six. 

In 1894 he published The Celtic Church in Scotland^ a 
small book which had a wider circle of readers than some 


of his earlier works, and which gained a popularity he 
never expected for it. 

In the autumn of 1896 he went to America, having 
been asked to lecture before the General Theological 
Seminary, New York. Though he did not go as a com- 
plete stranger, knowing as he did many of the American 
bishops and a large number of their clergy, still he was 
quite unprepared for the cordiality of his reception. A 
bishop from Scotland would always be warmly welcomed 
in America, the American Church never forgetting that 
she owes her first bishop to Scotland, but the welcome 
extended to my father was largely due to his being the 
author of The Annotated Scottish Communion Office, which 
had been widely read in the States, and from which many 
Americans learned how much their own liturgy, especially 
in its most striking features, resembled that of the Scottish 
Episcopal Church. 

Besides New York my father visited Philadelphia, 
Washington, and several other cities of interest, and made 
a short tour in Canada, stopping at Montreal and Quebec. 
He spent a few very happy days at Niagara with his 
brother, who was also lecturing in America that autumn, 
and who had planned his trip so as to arrive at Niagara 
the same day as my father. Nothing could have given 
my father greater pleasure than this meeting, the com- 
panionship of my uncle and aunt adding in every way to 
his enjoyment, while they both wrote describing his vigor- 
ous health and good spirits, and his wonderful interest 
and pleasure in everything. The whole trip was a success, 
and my father brought back a vivid impression of the 
charming people he had met, of their great hospitality 


and of the innumerable kindnesses he received wherever 
he went. 

The memories of this visit were very happy ones, and 
the kindly sympathy, together with the expressions of 
reverence and admiration for my father, which have 
poured in upon us from America since his death, show 
us that there too it was not only for his books and 
learning that he was loved. 

In 1897 the lectures he had given in New York were 
published under the lengthy title, Outlines of the History of 
Theological Literature of the Church of England from the 
Reformation to the close of the eighteenth century. And in 
1899 he published The Workmanship of the Prayer Book. 
There was, perhaps, no subject in which he took a deeper 
interest than the study of the Prayer Book. His thorough 
knowledge of every detail connected with the compiling 
of it, so clearly shown in this book and also in his Further 
Studies in the Prayer Book^ which appeared in 1901, drew 
from a learned Cambridge professor the comment, ' There 
is only one man living to whom I would entrust a revision 
of the Prayer Book, and I would entrust it to him single 
handed, and that is the Bishop of Edinburgh.' Certainly 
no one would have treated the subject with more 
reverential love or given more painstaking labour to it. 

In spite of his extremely busy life, with its innumerable 
diocesan duties which naturally came first with him, he 
found time, or rather he made time for useful literary 
work of a different order, and when the Scottish History 
Society was formed in 1886 it is interesting to note what 
an active part he took in its formation. Indeed he had 
already discussed with the late Dr. T. Graves Law, 


Librarian of the Signet Library, the possibility of starting 
a society of a similar kind, when a letter from Lord Rose- 
bery appeared in the Scotsman (February, 1886), pointing 
out how useful a society would be which would give its 
attention to bringing out inedited matter of Scottish his- 
torical interest. My father took up the idea very warmly, 
and as Dr. Law said, * generously offered to merge his own 
scheme in the broader one outlined by Lord Rosebery.' 

A committee was then formed under the convenership 
of my father, and the Scottish History Society was started 
under the most favourable circumstances, with Lord 
Rosebery as its president, the late Professor David 
Masson as chairman, and the late Dr. T. Graves Law, 
to whose indefatigable energy the Society owed so much, 
as honorary secretary. Its first meeting was held in the 
Theological College, Rosebery Crescent, and from the 
outset my father took the keenest interest in all its work 
and publications. His own contributions to it were few ; 
his first being the Correspondence of the Lauderdale family 
with Archbishop Sharp, v^Kxch appeared in 1893, and ten 
years later The Chartulary of the Abbey of Lindores. This 
latter was a new kind of work to him, and for two years 
he gave all the time he could spare from diocesan duties 
to the careful production of this book. In 1908 he was 
joint-editor with Mr. William Alexander Lindsay, K.C., 
and Dr. J. Maitland Thomson, of the Charters of Inchaffray 
Abbey. He himself thought he had begun the study 
of charters too late in life to make any work of his 
of real service, but he was, however, soon as deeply 
engrossed in them as in anything else he undertook, 
while the intercourse with record scholars and men 


of learning, which such study naturally involved, gave 
him immense pleasure and brought a new interest and 
happiness into his later years. 

The many other societies to which he belonged also 
claimed a share of his attention. There were meetings to 
be attended, lectures or addresses to be given, and he 
readily took his part in the busy intellectual life of the 
present day ; always glad when any work of his could be 
of use, and still more glad when he was allowed to be a 
member of the audience, seizing, as he always did, every 
opportunity of gaining knowledge. To find out the truth, 
to make sure of some knotty point in history, to know 
what really did happen, — these were the matters of vital 
importance. Old manuscripts and dry records of history 
were full of living interest to him. Every detail that 
threw light upon a difficulty was a joy, every point that 
told for or against his own views was noted down, to be 
laid honestly before the world so that it could judge 
rightly and well. Theories and suppositions faded com- 
pletely before facts, and it is interesting to find the Ethical 
Gold Medallist of 1861 saying, as he often did of late 
years, ' To make certain of one fact in history gives more 
satisfaction to me now than all the metaphysical problems 
in the world.' 

The power of being interested in almost any subject was, 
no doubt, one of his great attractions. It drew people of 
all ages round him, not only because it was pleasant to 
find someone who was as keen upon your own hobby as 
you were yourself, but someone who enjoyed finding out 
more material for you and made you doubly interested in 
your own subject. And he had in himself the power of 


infusing life and interest into any subject, however dry, 
upon which he discoursed. This, I think, showed itself 
much more in his lectures than in his books, and still more 
in his every-day life, where the charm, vitality and bright- 
ness of his presence created an atmosphere of life and light. 
A very clever man, of whose brilliancy my father always 
spoke in glowing terms (and he did not lavish praise indis- 
criminately on people), said, in speaking of my father, ' I 
never knew how interesting any subject was until I had 
talked to him about it and heard his views ; he always 
threw new light upon the matter, and I used to come 
away having gained more knowledge and a deeper insight 
into things,' 

My father was not absent-minded or dreamy in the 
ordinary sense of the word, though he sometimes appeared 
so, because he concentrated all his attention upon whatever 
he was working at for the moment, and often became so 
absorbed in it that he lost all count of time, or place, or 
things. I have frequently watched him walking about the 
room at breakfast time, a picturesque figure in his long 
purple cassock, v/hich he wore for warmth, stopping every 
now and then to take a book from the shelves and read 
for a few minutes. Then, after pacing up and down again, 
completely wrapped in thought, he would move gently to- 
wards the door, quite unconscious that his breakfast was 
untouched. I sometimes waited till he was just leaving 
the room to ask, ' Aren't you going to have any breakfast 
this morning .? ' And he would come back much surprised 
to find he had eaten nothing, and would say, ' I daresay 
you are right, my child, but if you had told me I had had 
my breakfast I should have been quite satisfied, perhaps it 


would be wise to eat something. Thank you for remind- 
ing me.' And he would take a little toast and a cup of 
coffee, standing all the time, and go away smiling at his 
own * stupidity.' 

Much loving chaff went on between him and us over 
little incidents of this kind, which he described as ' sheer 
stupidity,' and which, we thought, more often showed an 
absolute forgetfulness of self. The relationship between 
him and his children was, I think, very rare. He was 
absolutely and completely our comrade and companion 
without ever losing the dignity and authority of a father, 
and it would be quite impossible to describe how fully and 
entirely he entered into the individual life of each one of us. 
From our very early days he read much to us. Scott, 
Thackeray, Dickens, Jane Austen and a host of other 
authors became familiar to us through him. He read 
beautifully and with much feeling, the emotional side of his 
nature being readily moved by touching incidents or heroic 
actions in the lives of friends like Pendennis, Colonel 
Newcome, Warrington, David Copperfield, or the Cratchit 
family, for whom he had a particular affection, and he was 
sometimes obliged to stop reading so that we might all 
dry our eyes and laugh at our own tears. 

He was very critical on reading aloud, and always urged 
strongly that theological students should be well trained 
in this before taking Orders. He thought it a disgrace to 
have the beautiful language of Scripture rendered unintel- 
ligible or sometimes even ludicrous by the careless reading 
of some young man who was too grand to learn how to 
read, or too dull to understand what he was reading ; he 
frequently said that all people who aspired to reading aloud 


should be asked as the Ethiopian was by Philip, 'Under- 
standest thou what thou readest ? ' Emphasis laid on a 
wrong word was like a false quantity in Latin, and made 
him shudder, while poetry badly read gave him, I think, 
physical pain. 

He was a great lover of Wordsworth, Shelley, Tenny- 
son, Browning, Blake, and Rossetti, and indeed many 
others. Christina Rossetti, too, was dear to him, and he 
considered that some of her sonnets placed her in the very 
first rank of sonnet writers. I see by a little old note-book 
which belonged to him in Sligo, and into which he had 
copied some of his favourite verses, that even in those 
early days his admiration for her was great, as he makes 
this comment on her Autumn Violets — ' One of the most 
perfect sonnets in the English language.' 

Sonnets, I think, appealed even more to him than other 
verse. Possibly the difficulty in their construction added 
to their charm, for he liked to see a difficult thing well 
done. His own sonnets, some of which are in the same 
old note-book, though others, I fear, have been destroyed, 
have been described as possessing ' rare beauty,' and they 
certainly do. But he did not profess to be a poet, though 
few people who heard him read Blanco White's great 
sonnet on ' Night and Death ' or ' The Ocean ' by Tenny- 
son-Turner, or Christina Rossetti's ' Remember me when 
I am gone away ' could fail to recognise in the ring of his 
voice or the light in his eye the soul of the true poet and 
his love of the beautiful. 

Pictures and music were also a joy to him, and he 
derived immense pleasure from them both, not only 
because ' a thing of beauty is a joy for ever ' and good 


music brings comfort to the soul, but because he had 
sufficiently acquainted himself with many of the difficulties 
in art to be able to criticise and admire at the same time : 
an interest in the construction of music also added much 
to his natural delight in listening to it. Sometimes when 
very tired after a long day of work in the study with 
incessant interruptions which would have driven most 
people wild, and which must have tried him terribly, he 
would come to the drawing-room and ask for ' a little 
music to refresh me.' Then one of my sisters would 
play for him, and he would ask for something of Chopin 
or Mendelssohn or Beethoven, and after a time he would 
say * Now I feel as fresh as if I had had a swim in the sea,* 
and he would go back to the study and his work again. 

And music of a lighter kind attracted him too. Strains 
of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas often drew him from 
his books for a short time ; he was tempted, he used to say, 
by cheerful sounds to 'join the general merriment,' and 
we were all the merrier when he came. He was very 
fond of Sir Arthur Sullivan's music, which he thought 
too good to be devoted to comic opera, and he thoroughly 
appreciated Sir W. S. Gilbert's subtle humour with its 
touches of sarcasm and mockery of conventionality and 
worn out phrases. His frequent quotations from these 
operas and from the Bab Ballads showed how much they 
appealed to his own sense of humour. He rarely went 
to the theatre, though he dearly loved a good play and 
used to be completely carried away by a piece of fine 
acting. But the getting to and from the theatre, added 
to his reluctance to leave his books for so long, became 
real difficulties, especially latterly when he seemed to 


grudge any time not spent in work, having, he said, so 
much he wished to do and feeling that ' the time was 
getting short.' 

It was the same with his holidays. He seldom went 
away, and sometimes when he did books and work went 
with him. But there were glorious occasions when he 
left both behind and thoroughly enjoyed himself without 
them. He had very happy memories of his few trips 
abroad. His first was with his brother when they were 
boys. My father, I think, was nineteen or twenty, and 
they went by Rouen and Paris to Strasburg and the Rhine. 
Their different views on Wellington and Napoleon did 
not interfere in any way with their enjoyment, which my 
father said would have been ' complete,' but for his 
anxiety about his brother, who had not been strong and 
who overtaxed his strength sightseeing, and while at 
Rouen was threatened with haemorrhage from the lungs. 
But young people get well quickly, and no real harm 
came of this attack, and I believe that when they got 
to Strasburg they were equally anxious to climb the 
cathedral spire. He often talked of this trip. Years 
afterwards he went abroad with Dr. Salmon, and in 1897, 
after a hot summer in London and heavy work at the 
Lambeth Conference, he and one of my sisters went to 

No words can describe my father's enjoyment of this 
trip or his enthusiasm over the beauty of Lucerne and 
Interlaken. They spent a week in Paris on their way 
home, and if they had stayed there a little longer he 
would have been as well known at the old book stalls on 
the quays as he was at the old book stalls in Edinburgh^ 


where to see him bending over some old volume was a 
most familiar sight. 

Four years ago he went to stay with friends in Norway 
— friends with whom he had many interests in common 
— and he enjoyed himself immensely. The house was 
full of young people who were always bright, and he was 
close to the sea which he loved, and could go swimming 
every day. Swimming was, I think, the only form of 
physical exercise he cared for. He was a strong swimmer, 
and I remember, long ago in Dublin, his saving a drown- 
ing boy who had fallen into the canal while sailing a boat. 
We, as children, thought it must have been great fun to go 
in with all your clothes on, and have your watch stop the 
moment it touched the water. But there were no alarm- 
ing incidents of this kind in Norway ; the visit was 
altogether a happy one, and he came home looking years 
younger and full of lite and vigour. That was his last 
real holiday, and he enjoyed it thoroughly. He generally 
thought a day in the country or a few hours by the sea 
was quite sufficient holiday for himself, and a very simple 
way of getting fresh air without too much fatigue was 
to go on the top of the tram as far as the tram w^ould 
go, then take a short walk in the country, and home by 
tram again and back to work in the study once more. 

The Study : who could describe it with all its books 
and papers and dust ? And there was a great deal of dust, 
for very few hands were ever allowed to touch anything 
there, and * tidying,' my father thought, was putting 
things where no one could find them. But in spite of 
the dust and the piles of books which covered the chairs 
and tables and desks, and literally mounted from floor to 

HIS STUDY xxxvii 

ceiling, it was always the most delightful room in the house. 
People who could overlook these drawbacks and who did 
not object to the smell of smoke, for my father loved his 
cigarette, found there a wealth of interesting things and a 
fund of knowledge and learning entirely at their disposal, 
together with a most gracious welcome. How my father 
could detach himself from his work to give his full 
attention to some other person's business, sometimes quite 
a trivial affair, was always a marvel to me, and it was only 
on very rare occasions and under great pressure of work 
that the study was not accessible to all comers from ten in 
the morning till half-past seven at night. 

My father's love of children has been so often spoken of 
that it seems superfluous to make any comment on it. He 
loved them all, and could not believe that such a thing 
existed as an unattractive child, or a not beautiful baby, 
and they loved him. Many stories could be told of the 
conversations which went on in the study, where, in spite 
of the ancient rule, toys were kept for special friends. 

His love of animals must also be noted, for they had a 
large share in his afi^ections. Dogs, and cats, too, recognised 
in him a good friend. A large smooth-haired retriever, 
with expressive eyes, knew that if he were accused of 
slyness he would find a champion in my father, and a 
fox terrier hailed every visit from my father with delight, 
knowing that it meant a new ball for him and plenty of 
play in the garden. And in the study it was no un- 
common thing to see a small and insignificant looking cat 
in possession of the most comfortable chair, while my 
father stood or asked for another chair, because it would 
be ' a pity to disturb the little creature.' 


of not feeling very well, and only waited up to see my 
brother and his wife, who always came to us on Sunday 
evenings. He did not mention to them that he was un- 
well, but talked for some minutes about the general 
election, in which he was much interested ; then said grace 
for supper and went away. They thought he had gone 
back to the study to get a book and were surprised to 
hear he had gone to bed, as he had shown no sign of 
illness and was looking well. My brother, who is a 
doctor, went up to see him, and finding no cause for 
alarm came back to suggest something which would 
relieve the pain in his chest of which my father spoke. 
A few minutes later when my sister and I went into his 
room we found him as if he were asleep. There was no 
trace of pain or suffering on his face — only a smile and a 
look of rest. 

In the many appreciations which have appeared about 
my father, references have been made to his ' many great 
qualities and many great endowments.' Knowledge, 
learning, humour, kindness, sympathy and chivalry have 
been attributed to him, and to these I should like to add 
two more qualities which were, I think, more clearly seen 
in his daily life and by those who came in constant contact 
with him — his simplicity and his generosity ot mind and 
heart. His large open mind, incapable of a mean thought, 
gave credit to his fellow creatures for the same lofty ideas 
and the same integrity of purpose as his own. When 
some dishonourable action or some meanness of thought 
(and all meanness he abhorred) was forced upon his notice 
he would be excessively angry for a time : then with the 


same large-minded generosity he forgave, and when he 
forgave he forgot. He never bore a grudge or harboured 
an unkind thought of anyone. 

In his generosity of heart he gave freely of all he had 
and of what he loved most — his books. 

Innumerable times I have watched him handling with 
tender care some cherished volume while he pointed out 
its charms and merits to some other book lover. Then 
looking up quickly he would ask ' Do you like it ? does 
it appeal to you ^ ' and if his sharp scrutinising glance was 
satisfied that it was appreciated there might be a moment's 
hesitation, there sometimes was, and then the overflowing 
of his generous heart would show in every line of his face 
as he would say 'take it, take it if it gives you any pleasure, 
I shall be delighted,' and he would turn quickly away to 
show some other book and so escape the thanks which 
always embarrassed him. He shrank from being thanked, 
and thought that, as a rule, people were much too grateful 
for any act of kindness on his part. Sometimes, when the 
conversation in his presence turned on the ingratitude of 
the world at large and of some people in particular, and 
conversation of this kind irritated him extremely, he would 
always say ' I have never found it so,' and would quote 
these lines from his much loved Wordsworth : 

' I've heard of hearts unkind, kind deeds 
With coldness still returning. 
Alas ! the gratitude of men 
Hath oftener left me mourning.' 

And his simplicity, which was the simplicity of strength 
and dignity, was so much a part of himself that it is 
difficult to disconnect it sufficiently to comment on it» 


He was simple in everything, simple in his way of living, 
simple in his pleasures and amusements, simple in the 
courage of his opinions and in his method of stating 
them, and simple in his gentle courteous manners. When 
vested in full canonicals for some great service, amid all 
the pomp and glory of elaborate ceremonial, the simple 
dignity of his presence filled the mind with the thought 
of the ' holy and humble men of heart ' who praise the 

My father was asked to give the Rhind lectures for 
1 90 1 to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, and 
selected as his title, The Constitution, Organisation^ and 
Law of the Medieval Church in Scotland. The subject 
was one that he had much at heart, but he was unable 
to deal fully with it in the original course of six lectures. 
In the following years he greatly added to, and altered, 
his original manuscript, until shortly before his death he 
had completed the work, and left this volume as it is now 
printed. We are deeply indebted to Mr. MacLehose 
not only for offering to publish the lectures and for 
the work he has bestowed on them, but for his many 
kindnesses during my father's lifetime in connection with 
much of his work. The proofs have been read by Mr. 
George Neilson, LL.D., and by the Rev. James Wilson, 
Litt.D., of Dalston, and we should like to thank them, as 
I know my father would have done, for their helpful 

Another book which my father had practically finished 
was on the Scottish Bishops of Medieval Times. It was 
not quite ready for the press, and only a few words of the 


preface had been written. We feel that no greater tribute 
could have been paid to the memory of my father than 
that the difficult and laborious task of verifying the many 
facts and references contained in such a work should have 
been undertaken by Dr. J. Maitland Thomson, from 
whom my father always received much help, and especially 
in the writing of this book on Scottish Bishops. How 
much he valued that help Dr. Maitland Thomson perhaps 
never realised ; but it is peculiarly gratifying to us that it 
is due to the kindness of one whose assistance gave my 
father great pleasure, that we can look forward to this 
volume on Scottish Bishops of Medieval Times, my 
father's last work, being made available for other students. 

Alice Dowden. 
1st October, 1910. 



Aberdeen Breviary. See Breviar. 

A.P.S. — Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland. Record Commission. 
1814-1875. 12 vols. 

Asloan's MS. — Ane Addicioun of Scottis Corniklis and Deidis (com- 
monly cited as Auchinleck Chronicle). Ed. T. Thomson. 181 8. 

Assize of King William. — Included in A.P.S. (vol. i. pp. 371-84). 

S. Bernardi opera. 1765. 3 vols. 

Book of Assumptions. — Assumptions of the Thirds of Benefices, 1561. 
MSS. in General Register House and Advocates' Library, Edin- 

Brady's Episcopal Succession. — The Episcopal Succession in England, 
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1876-77- 3 vols. 

Breviar. Aberdon. — Breviarium Aberdonense. Bannatyne, Maitland 
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C.P.R.— Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers relating to Great 
Britain and Ireland. Rolls series, {a) Papal Letters a.d. i 198 to 
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Cambusk. See Regist. de Cambusk. 

Chartulary of Cambuskenneth. See Regist. de Cambusk. 

Chart, of Priory of Coldstream. — Chartulary of the Cistercian Priory of 
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Chronicle of Lanercost ; Lanercost. — Chronicon de Lanercost. Banna- 
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Chronicle of Melrose ; Chron. Mailros. — Chronica de Mailros. Banna- 
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Collections, etc. ; Collections Aberdeen and Banff. — Collections for a 
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Corpus Juris Canonici. — Corpus Juris Canonici, a P. Pithoeo et F. fratre 

restitutum. 1687. 2 vols. 
Cronykil. See Wyntoun. 

De Mutatione Sacerdotum. Included in S.E.S. 
De Officiis Divinis. See Strabo. 
De Reb. Gest. See Lesley. 
Decretal. — Decretales. Included in Corpus Juris Canonici (vol. ii. 

PP- 1-349)- 
Decret. Greg. IX. — Decretales Gregorii IX. Included in Corpus Juris 

Canonici (vol. ii. pp. 1-282). 
Decretum. — Decretum Magistri Gratiani. Included in Corpus Juris 

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Douglas' Peerage ; Wood's Peerage. — The Peerage of Scotland, by Sir 

Robert Douglas; second edition, revised by J. P. Wood. 1813. 

2 vols. 
Ducange. — Glossarium Mediae et Infimae Latinitatis conditum a 

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Epist. Reg. Scot. — Epistolae Jacobi Quarti, Jacobi Quinti et Mariae, 

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Eubel. — Hierarchia Catholica Medii Aevi. 1898-1901. 2 vols. 
Extracta ex variis Cronicis. — Extracta ex variis Cronicis Scocie. Abbots- 
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Ferraris. — Prompta Bibliotheca Canonica Juridica Moralis, etc. 1782- 

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Florence of Worcester. — Florentii Wigorniensis Monachi Chronicon ex 

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Frere (W. H.). — Use of Sarum. 1898-1901. 2 vols. 
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Hailes' Annals. — Annals of Scotland, by Sir David Dalrymple of Hailes. 

Third edition. 18 19. 3 vols. 
Hamilton's Catechism. — The Catechism of John Hamilton, Archbishop 

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Hist. Maj. Brit. See Major. 


Hist. Nov. See Eadmer. 

Keith's Catalogue. — An Historical Catalogue of the Scottish Bishops 

down to the year 1688. New edition. 1824. 
Keith's History of Affairs, etc. — History of the Affairs of Church and 

State in Scotland from the Beginning of the Reformation to the 

year 1568. New edition. Spottiswoode Society. 1844-50. 3 vols. 
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Leges Burgorum. Included in A.P.S. (vol. i. pp. 333-356). 
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de Aberbrothoc. Registrum Abbacie de Aberbrothoc. Pars Prior, 

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Lib. de Calchou. — Liber S. Marie de Calchou. Bannatyne Club. 1846. 

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Lib. de Dryburgh. — Liber S. Marie de Dryburgh. Bannatyne Club. 

Lib. de Melros. — Liber Sancte Marie de Melros. Bannatyne Club. 

1S37. 2 vols. 
Lib. de Scon. — Liber Ecclesie de Scon. Bannatyne Club. 1843. 
Lib. Off. S. And. — Liber Ofhcialis Sanctl Andree. Abbotsford Club. 

Lincoln Statutes. — Statutes of Lincoln Cathedral, arranged by H. Brad- 

shaw, edited by Chr. Wordsworth. 1892-97. 3 vols. 
Lyndvvood's Provinclale. — Provinciale seu Consuetudines Angliae. 1679. 
Major (Johannes), Hist. Maj. Brit. — Historia Majoris Britanniae tam 

Angliae quam Scotiae. 15 21. 
Mansi ; Mansi's edit, of Labbe and Cossart. — Sacrorum Conciliorum 

nova et amplissima Collectio. 1759-98. 31 vols. 
Maskell's Mon. Rit. — Monumenta Ritualia Ecclesiac Anglicanae. 2nd 

edit. 1882. 3 vols. 
Memo, of Montgomeries. — Memorials of the Montgomeries, Earls of 

Eglinton. By W. Eraser. 1859. 2 vols. 
Myln. See V^itae. 
Orig. Paroch. — Origincs Parochialcs Scotiae. Bannatyne Club. 1851- 

55. 2 vols, in 3. 
Papal Registers. See C.P.R. 
Pontifical Offices used by De Bcrnham. — Pontificalc Ecclesiae S. Andreae. 

Provinciale. Sec Lyndwood. 


Quoniam Attachiamenta. — Included in A.P.S. (vol. i. pp. 647-59). 

Regiam Majestatem.— Included in A.P.S. (vol. i. pp. 597-641). 

Reg. Dunelm. de Cuthberti Virtut. — Reginaldi Dunelmensis Liber de 

admirandis Beati Cuthberti Virtutibus. Surtees Society. 1835. 
Reg. de Aberbrothoc. — See Lib. de Aberbrothoc. 
R.A.; Reg. Aberd. — Registrum Episcopatus Aberdonensis. Maitland 

and Spalding Clubs. 1845. 2 vols. 
R.B.; Reg. Brech. Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensls. Bannatyne 

Club. 1856. 2 vols. 
Regist. de Cambusk. — Registrum Monasterii S. Marie de Cambuskenneth. 

Grampian Club. 1872. 
Reg. de Dryburgh. — See Lib. de Dryburgh. 
Regist. de Dunferml. — Registrum de Dunfermelyn. Bannatyne Club, 

R.G. ; Reg. Glasg. — Registrum Episcopatus Glasguensis. Bannatyne 

and Maitland Clubs. 1843. 2 vols. 
R.M.; Reg. Morav.— Register of (Bishopric of) Moray.— Registrum 

Episcopatus Moraviensis. Bannatyne Club. 1837. 
Reg. de Neubotle.— Registrum S. Marie de Neubotle. Bannatyne Club, 

Reg. de Passelet. — Registrum Monasterii de Passelet. Maitland Club. 

1832. Reprinted, New Club, 1877. 
Reg. Pr. S. And. — Registrum sive Liber Cartarum Prioratus Sancti 

Andree in Scotia. Bannatyne Club. 1841. 
Reg. Mag. Sig. — Registrum Magni Sigilli Regum Scotorum a.d. 1306- 

1424. Record Commission. 18 14. 
Reg. Sec. Sig. — Registrum Secreti Sigilli. MS. in General Register 

House, Edinburgh (one vol. now published. Rolls series, 1908). 
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tinuatione Walteri Boweri. 1775. 2 vols. 
Sculptured Stones. — Sculptured Stones of Scotland. Spalding Club. 

1856-67. 2 vols. 
Sext, Decret, ; Sext. of the Decretals. — Liber Sextus Decretalium ; in- 
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72. 2 vols. (Historians of Scotland, vols. i. and iv.) 
Spelman, Glossarium. — Glossarium Archaiologicum. Edit, tertia auctior. 

Spottiswoode's History. — History of the Church of Scotland by Arch- 
bishop Spottiswoode, 1665. Reprinted, Spottlswoode Society, 

1847-51. 3 vols. 


S.E.S. — Concilia Scotiae ; Statuta Ecclesiae Scoticanae. Bannatyne 

Club. 1866. 2 vols. 
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Migne (vol. ii. 919-66). 
Stubbs (W.), Constit. Hist. — The Constitutional History of England. 

1866. 3 vols. 
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illustrantia. 1864. 
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habitaverunt in Scotia. 1789. 
Vit. Episc. Dunkel. ; Vitae Eccl. Dunkelden. Episc. — Vitae Dun- 

keldensls Ecclesiae Episcoporum ab Alexandro Myln. Bannatyne 

Club. 1823. 
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1737. 4 vols. 
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(Historians of Scotland, vols. ii. iii. and ix.). 
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Eboracensis. 1875. 


The design of the following pages is to give some account 
of the more important features in the organisation of the 
medieval Church in Scotland, and of the laws, whether 
civil or ecclesiastical, by which its action was controlled or 

The ordinary topics of ecclesiastical history — the story 
of the varying vicissitudes of the Church's fortunes, the 
events that were favourable or hostile to its influence, the 
lives and characters of the leading ecclesiastics, the succes- 
sion of the bishops in the several sees, the struggles of 
rival prelates, the burnings of cathedrals and monastic 
edifices, the ravages of the Church's property, and the 
other miseries consequent on the long series of invasions 
and destructive wars which distracted the country, the 
occasional and sporadic appearance of forms of belief at 
variance from the prevailing and recognised faith of 
Western Christendom — these, and such like topics, though 
abounding in interest, concern us, for the purposes of 
these Lectures, only indirectly, and often only remotely. 
The subject which will occupy us is the system of ecclesi- 
astical organisation, — the methods by which the Church 
was maintained, as viewed on the material side of its being, 
the methods by which it attempted to do its spiritual work 
for the country, the laws which governed its operations, 
and the manner in which these laws were administered. 

The period of time with which it is proposed to deal 
extends from the death of King Malcolm Ceanmore to the 
great ecclesiastical revolution of the sixteenth century, 
which is commonly spoken of as the Reformation, when 
the whole external structure of the medieval Church in 


Scotland met its overthrow. The lifetime of Malcolm and 
his queen, St. Margaret of Scotland, marks the beginnings 
of the transition from the Celtic to what, for lack of a better 
name, we may call the feudal forms of Church organisation. 
And by the time of the death of the last of the sons of 
Malcolm and Margaret the Church in Scotland, in almost 
all the main features of its constitutional system, presented 
a close counterpart to the Church in England and in most 
of the countries of Western Europe. 

By the middle of the twelfth century we find that the 
mainland of Scotland was divided into nine several dioceses, 
each presided over by a bishop, with his council, consisting 
of the members of his cathedral chapter.^ Each diocese, 
again, was divided territorially into a large number of small 
sections, known as parishes, to each of which was assigned 
a priest to minister in sacred things to the inhabitants. A 
complete network was thus formed over the whole face of 
the country. Beside the great body of the secular clergy 
there were to be found a number of monastic orders, which, 
as distinguished from the old Celtic foundations, had their 
origin on the continent. Monasteries, large or small, of 
various orders, had been planted, or were in process of 
time being planted, in almost every region of Scotland. 
Lands had been granted, sometimes with profuse gener- 
osity, for the maintenance of both seculars and monks. 
Teinds were exacted with punctilious scrupulosity. The 
wealth of the ecclesiastics as a body was already great, and 
was still growing. The power and influence of the Church, 
at all events on its material side, were indeed vast. In 
the following century the Franciscans, the Preaching 
Friars, made their appearance, and their houses were soon 
to be found in every considerable town. 

The whole body of the secular clergy were governed by a 
code of law that had come to be universally recognised as 
the law of the Church of the West. Even the laity, in some 
of the most important relations of life, were subjected 
to the ordinances of the Canon Law. The members of 

1 I have not counted Galloway, as it was under the jurisdiction of York. 
Argyll was not erected till about 1200. Orkney and the Isles were 
under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop, first of Hamburg, and after- 
wards of Trondhjcm. See p. 9. 


the various religious orders were governed not only by 
the general provisions of the Canon Law, but also in each 
case by the distinctive 'rule' of the order. And the 
cathedrals, and at a later date the other corporations, 
known as collegiate churches, had each statutes and 
ordinances binding on their own members. Beside the 
great body of ecclesiastical statutes which were gradually 
collected, and eventually formed the code known as the 
Corpus Juris Canonici^ constituting the general law of the 
Church throughout Western Christendom, the legislation 
of local synods gave rise to certain minor rules and 
regulations by which the secular clergy were governed. 
Some acquaintance with both the general body of the 
Canon Law and the body of statutes enacted by Scottish 
synods is essential to any successful attempt to reconstruct 
in imagination church life in Scotland during the middle 

But the study of legislation does not in itself suffice to 
present us with a true picture of the actual facts of life, or 
of the condition of things in the practical conduct of affairs. 
Laws may, conceivably, be the best possible, but they may 
be rendered worse than inefficient if they be laxly or 
corruptly administered. It will therefore be necessary to 
consider what was the actual practice in the administration 
of ecclesiastical statutes, and to say something of the 
system of papal dispensations which were profusely granted, 
and which in real life largely modified the provisions of 
the written law. 

In illustration of our subject constant reference will have 
to be made to the contemporary legislation of the synods 
of the Church of England, whether provincial or diocesan. 
There were few differences of importance between the 
constitutional systems of the two Churches. And the 
evidence is beyond dispute that the Scottish Church 
exhibited but little initiative in the matter of ecclesiastical 
legislation, ordinarily adopting her statutes and ordinances 
from the constitutions of the Church of England, some- 
times with slight modifications, but more generally with 

' I had written these words before the appearance of the Inaugural 
Lecture by Professor Hume Brown. 'The Reign of David I.,' he 


Again, the paucity of the Scottish church records which 
have survived the destructive ravages of the time of the 
Reformation compels the student of the ecclesiastical history 
of medieval Scotland to turn to English documents for 
explanations and illustrations. It may be stated with con- 
fidence that the inquirer who confines his studies to the 
meagre remains of Scottish ecclesiastical law will inevitably, 
in hundreds of cases, miss their true significance, and fail 
to interpret them correctly. As in the case of the scanty 
records of Celtic Christianity in this country we have to 
resort for illustration to the rich stores supplied in the 
ancient manuscripts and archaeological remains of Ireland, 
so for the medieval period we have need constantly to 
recur to the comparatively exuberant abundance of the 
documents of the medieval Church in England. 

The chartularies of four of the Scottish Cathedrals, of 
certain of the Collegiate Churches, and of many of the 
great monastic houses, which are accessible, chiefly through 
the publications of the Bannatyne, Maitland and (old and 
new) Spalding Clubs, form a great quarry which has yet 
been but imperfectly worked. It is true that these char- 
tularies are in their main purpose registers of landed 
possessions, yet the careful student cannot turn over more 
than a few pages in any part of these valuable records 
without coming across some interesting illustration of 
ecclesiastical law or usage. The chartularies do much 
more than instruct us in the extent of the possessions of 
particular churches and monasteries, and in questions of 
land-tenure and local topography. The frequent refer- 
ences to these volumes in the following pages will maice 
clear that hitherto they have been unduly neglected by 
those who would try to understand ecclesiastical law as 
practically administered. What Mr. Cosmo Innes wrote 
as long ago as the year 1861 is, I fear, scarcely, if at all, 
less true to-day: * Of the members who receive the Club 
works, perhaps a dozen of each of the first two (the 

writes, *is perhaps the most important in Scottish history, as it was 
mainly by his endeavours that Church and State took the form which 
they retained through the Middle Ages. But the work of David was 
purely imitative, and it can be understood only by reference to the 
developments of the other countries of Christendom.' 


Bannatyne and Maitland Clubs), it may be twenty of the 
last (the Spalding Club), turn over the books, cut a few 
leaves (though that is rather avoided), and then the large 
quartos sleep undisturbed on the library shelf ^ 

Since these words of Mr. Cosmo Innes were written 
fresh sources of information bearing, more or less directly, 
on our subject have been put at the disposal of the 
historical inquirer by the publication, from the Vatican 
and other archives of the papal court, of Theiner's Vetera 
Monumenta Hihemorum et Scotorum Historiam illustrantia. 
(Romae : 1 864), and more recently of the Calendar of Papal 
Registers, — volumes of which are still in process of being 
issued under the direction of the Master of the Rolls.^ 

In accordance with the exacting, but just demands of 
the modern spirit of historical research I have wrought 
almost exclusively from original sources. But it would 
have been worse than culpable to have neglected the in- 
valuable researches of such students as Joseph Robertson, 
John Stuart, Cosmo Innes, David Laing, and George 

The purpose and scope of the present Lectures does 
not allow me to do more than touch lightly the questions 
connected with the history of the religious houses of Scot- 
land. I am concerned with the Church as represented by 
the episcopate, the secular clergy (whether of the Cathedral, 
or Collegiate or Parochial Churches), and the people of 
Scotland. The relations of the monasteries to the epis- 
copate, and the mode in which the parochial system was 
affected by the appropriation of parishes to the monasteries 
will be briefly considered ; but anything like an adequate 
account of the great religious houses and of the several 

1 Sketches of Early Scotch History, p. ix. 

- This latter work, most valuable as it is, suffers from the process of 
curtailment necessary, perhaps, for the accomplishment of the design, 
and also from the rendering of the originals into English, which, though 
helpful for the rapid scanning of the contents, at times proves unsatis- 
factory when at some crucial point the ipsissima verba are much to be 

^ Unfortunately, the labours of that sound antiquary and honest 
historian of an earlier age, Father Thomas Innes, of whom one can 
never thinic without respect and admiration, scarcely touch the period 
with which I have had to deal. 


' rules ' by which the lives of their inmates were ordered 
must be reserved. 

The subject before us, even when thus limited, is of 
great extent ; and I can do no more than sketch in 
outline the leading features of the constitution of the 
Church as it affected the secular clergy and the people 
generally, passing by, reluctantly, many topics of great 

J. D. 



At the time of Malcolm Ceanmore there is only one 
clearly defined figure of a Scottish bishop presenting itself 
in the field of authentic history, — he who was known as 
' the Bishop of the Scots,' having his seat at Kilrymont 
(St. Andrews). In earlier days there had been bishops at 
Glasgow, at Whitherne, at Dunkeld, at Dunblane, and 
probably at Morthlach. And it would be rash to assert 
that in the surviving monastic institutions of the ancient 
Celtic Church there were no monks of the episcopal order 
at the time of Malcolm. The story of the destruction 
of the ancient bishoprics at Glasgow and Whitherne, and 
of the decay of Celtic Christianity in the more northern 
parts of Scotland does not come within our province. 
We are here concerned with the period of ecclesiastical 
reconstruction and extension during the reigns of the sons 
of Malcolm Ceanmore. 

It is a noticeable coincidence that Fothad, the last of 
the distinctively Celtic Bishops of St. Andrews, died in 
the same year (1093) as Malcolm Ceanmore. During 
the wars of the succession immediately following the 
king's death the see remained vacant. If we may accept 
the statement in Scotichronicon,^ four persons were suc- 
cessively elected to the see, but all died unconsecrated. 
It was not till 1109 that Turgot, elected in the first year 
of King Alexander I., received consecration at the hands 

^ Johann'ts de Fordun Scotkhronkon cum Supplemcntis et Cmtinuat'tone 
Walter't Boweri, Goodall's edit. vol. i. pp. 339-340. 


of the Archbishop of York. Already Anglo-Norman 
settlers, many of them men of rank and station, were 
being granted lands by the Scottish kings. The influence 
of England both in Church and State was potent at the 
time. The connexion of the Scottish and English Courts 
was drawn close by intermarriages. Alexander's sister, 
*the good Queen Maud,' was the wife of Henry I. of 
England, while Alexander had taken to wife a daughter 
of Henry. It was not unnatural that English models 
should have presented themselves as attractive both in the 
civil and ecclesiastical affairs. Independently of this, it 
is obvious that in those days of awakened religious zeal 
much difficulty must have been experienced in the efforts 
of one bishop to administer and govern so great a district 
as that which included the whole of Scotland, save the 
region of Cumbria. 

It would seem that early in the twelfth century the 
bishoprics of Dunkeld and Moray were constituted.^ 

About the year 1115 Earl David (afterwards David I.) 
to whom the sovereignty of Cumbria and of Lothian, 
south of the Lammermoors, had been bequeathed by his 
brother, King Eadgar, revived the desolate and plundered 
bishopric of Glasgow. Perhaps stimulated by David's 
example, Fergus, Lord of Galloway, who rendered little 
more than a nominal obedience to Scotland, revived 
the twice desolated see of Candida Casa. David succeeded 
to the throne in 1124; and the work of further sub- 
division of the country into dioceses went forward. 
About 1 128 Ross and Caithness took their places among 
the Scottish dioceses, and some ei^ht or nine years later 
Aberdeen was added to the list. The tale was completed 
(with the exception of Argyll) by David's erection of 
the sees of Dunblane and Brechin about 11 50. 

The great district of Argyll had been under the 
jurisdiction of the Bishops of Dunkeld from the reconsti- 
tution of that see till the close of the twelfth century. 
The separation of this district into a distinct diocese was 
due (as the chroniclers tell us) to the conscientious scruples 

^Or, as it must be remembered that in ancient days a bishop had had 
his residence at Dunkeld, this latter diocese is sometimes spoken of by 
modern historians as being ' reconstituted.' 


of John, Bishop of Dunkeld, who, though surnamed ' the 
Scot,' was an Englishman. As the story goes, his sense 
of inability to do justice to the gaelic-speaking people of 
the western part of his diocese, whose tongue he did not 
understand, induced him to petition the Pope to sever 
Argyll from his jurisdiction and bestow it on one who 
was versed in the tongue of the people.^ 

We see then that with the exception of Argyll all the 
subdivisions of the vast diocese, if we may use the word, 
of the ' Bishop of the Scots ' were effected during the reigns 
of Alexander and David. Glasgow was reconstituted, and 
Galloway, which was then and long after ecclesiastically 
subject to the Archbishop of York, was within the same 
period revived as an episcopal see. 

If we except the period of the Reformation, the years 
of the half century which included the reigns of Alex- 
ander I. and David I. were more distinctively marked by 
great ecclesiastical changes than any period in the history 
of the Scottish Church. 

The island dioceses of the Orkneys and the Sudreys 
(Sodor) were for many centuries unconnected ecclesiasti- 
cally with Scotland. They owed subjection first to the 
Archbishop of Hamburg, and afterwards to the Arch- 
bishop of Trondhjem (Drontheim), as soon as that see was 
raised to the metropolitan dignity .^ Claims to jurisdiction 
indeed had been made by Scottish Bishops, and, as regards 
Orkney, by the Archbishop of York, But it was not till 
the issue of the Papal Bull of 1472, that the separation 
of the two dioceses from Trondhjem and their subjection 
to the Scottish Primate finally set at rest all doubts.^ 

^ On this narrative, it may be observed that though English-spealcing 
people would no doubt be more numerous in the region of Dunkeld, 
still even there the great majority must have been Gaels. 

2 In the pontificate of Eugenius III. his legate Nicholas (Breakspear) 
Cardinal Bishop of Albano (afterwards Adrian IV.) visited Norway and 
erected Nidaros (Trondhjem) into a metropolitan see, under which were 
placed, as suffragans, the Bishops of the Orkneys and Sudreys. This was 
between 20 July and September 1161. See Goss's edit, of Munch's 
edit, of the Chronicle of Man, pp. 171, 274-283. 

' Skene (Celtic Scotland, vol. ii.) has bestowed much care on the 
erection of the bishoprics on the mainland ; and Sir Archibald H. 
Dunbar (Scottish Kings) is, as usual, of great weight in questions as to the 
dates of the several foundations. 


We have spoken of the bishopric of Dunblane as 
erected under King David ; and the language is correct 
in the sense that the erection was with his approval and 
confirmation. But it may be questioned whether the 
persons mainly concerned in its establishment were not 
the Earls of Strathern. Certainly the Earls of Strathern 
stood in a very peculiar relation to Dunblane. They are 
spoken of as ' patrons ' of the see ; and when bishops 
were confirmed or provided by the Pope, a bull an- 
nouncing the appointment was addressed to the Earl of 
Strathern of the time. Nothing like this occurs, I think, 
in the case of any other Scottish bishopric. But it may 
be that this distinction took its rise with the splendid 
munificence towards the see of the third Earl — Gilbert, 
who succeeded his father in 1171. The story, told in 
Scotichronicon (viii. 73), that Earl Gilbert divided his 
earldom into three equal parts, retaining one third for 
himself, and giving to Dunblane and the Austin Canons 
of Inchaffray, each a third, may be exaggerated, but it has 
probably some substantial basis in actual fact.^ When 
the earldom of Strathern fell to the Crown, James II., in a 
grant under the Great Seal (Feb. 5, 1442-3), states that 
the Bishops of Dunblane and his chapter had held divers 
lands in capite of the Earls of Strathern, and the Earls are 
specially mentioned for their munificent endowments of 
the see.2 But the really peculiar feature in regard to the 
see is the special papal recognition of the Earls of 
Strathern as patronus. It may be observed that even in 
formal writs the Bishop of Dunblane sometimes appears 
as ' Bishop of Strathern.' ^ 

In one respect, and that of no small importance, the 
ecclesiastical organisation of the Church of Scotland as 
established by Alexander and David differed from the 

^ I suspect that the foundation of the story may have been that Earl 
Gilbert, who had the patronage of many parish churches, gave one third 
of them to the Cathedral of Dunblane, one third to InchafFray, and 
retained the remaining third at his own disposal. See my remarks in 
Charters of Inchaffray, p. xxvi. 

"^ Acts of the Parliaments cf Scotland, ii. 58, 

^ For example Bishop Jonathan ( I 199- 12 10) is ' episcopus de 
stratheren.' Reg. Priorat. S. AnJree, 319, 


organisation of the other countries of Christendom. It 
possessed no Metropolitan. The bishops of the mainland 
of Scotland were nine in number — St. Andrews, Dunkeld, 
Moray, Glasgow, Caithness, Ross, Aberdeen, Dunblane 
and Brechin.^ And somewhat later a tenth, Argyll, was 
added. 2 Yet this hierarchy was acephalous. Elsewhere 
diocesan bishops were grouped together in Provinces, each 
Province being presided over by a Metropolitan. It was 
of old the function of a Metropolitan to investigate the 
regularity of the elections of the bishops of his Province, 
and to confirm them if all had been done in due form. 
The lack of a Metropolitan necessitated that the confirma- 
tion of episcopal elections in Scotland should be sought 
direct from the Roman Pontiff. If disputes arose among 
the bishops, a Metropolitan held a position which would 
often enable him to intervene with success. In any case 
there was the court of the archbishop to which causes 
might be appealed, and where they might be settled without 
the trouble and heavy cost that were entailed by carrying 
the appeal to Rome. In Scotland this advantage was 
missing. Again, the want of a Metropolitan was experi- 
enced when it was attempted in the thirteenth century to 
hold Provincial Synods in accordance with the statutory 
provisions of the Fourth Lateran Council. By a special 
expedient the Pope sanctioned an arrangement (of which we 
shall have to speak more fully hereafter) by which the 
bishops were empowered to elect one of their number to 
convene the Synod and act as a temporary president. Yet 
though the Scottish Church till the second half of the 
fifteenth century suffered from these disadvantages, it 
must be admitted that the Church's most beneficent zeal 
and highest distinction were attained during the time when 
it possessed no archbishop ; and that some of the ugliest 
blots upon the Church's credit are associated with prelates 
who held the dignity of Metropolitan. 

It was not due to any wish on the part of the Scots that 
this anomalous condition of the hierarchy so long remained 
a feature of the organisation of the Scottish Church. On 

^ Galloway, as then being under the jurisdiction of York, is not 

2 About A.D. I 200. 


the contrary, as early as the time of King David I. an 
effort had been made to obtain metropolitan rights for the 
see of St. Andrews.^ The king's endeavours were ren- 
dered unavailing by the influence of the Archbishop of 
York, who relied on a compact made in earlier times 
between his predecessor and Lanfranc, Archbishop of 
Canterbury, that all Britain north of the Humber ad 
extremos Scotiae fines should belong to the metropolitan 
jurisdiction of York.' Malcolm, the Maiden, renewed the 
attempt made by his grandfather ; and the Pope still 
declined to grant the request. This refusal, however, was 
in a measure compensated by the Pope forbidding (1176) 
the Archbishop of York to exercise metropolitan rights 
over Scotland until the Apostolic See had tried the ques- 
tion and pronounced judgment. At the same time the 
Pope forbade the Scottish prelates to acknowledge any 
ecclesiastical superior other than the Pope himself. 

In 1 188 Clement III. issued his famous bull, declaring 
the Scottish Church to be the peculiar daughter {filia 
specialis) of the Roman Church, to which alone {nullo 
mediante) she was to show subjection. 

Subsequent efforts made by kings and archbishops of 
England to secure the subjection of the Scottish Church 
to England, though often repeated, were ineffective. But 
it was not till 1472 that Scotland became possessed of a 
Metropolitan of her own. 

The grievance of all appeals from Scottish bishops 
having to be made to the Apostolic See, with all the 
delays and heavy expenses consequent thereon, had been 
in a temporary and partial way met in 1386 by an ordi- 
nance of the Anti-Pope Clement VII. Walter Trail had 
not long been seated in St. Andrews when Clement 
bestowed upon him powers to hear first appeals. This 
fact has been brought to light for the first time, so far as 

^ The whole subject of the erection of the archbishoprics has been 
treated with his usual thoroughness by Joseph Robertson in the Preface 
to Statuta Ecclesiae Scoticanae (vol. i. pp. xxiv, xxv, xxix, and cix-cxxx). 
The sources for the facts arc either cited or referred to ; and it has not 
been thought necessary in this chapter to repeat references which may be 
found in a work so well known. 

2 Wilkins' ConcUin, i. 324. 


I am aware, by the recent publication of the fourth 
volume of the Calendar of Papal Registers (1902). Trail 
had petitioned for the redress of the grievance, and the 
matter is of such interest and importance that it is best to 
transcribe the main part of the abstract. Clement VII. 
(Avignon, 15 Kal. March, 1386) to Walter, Bishop of 
St. Andrews : ' Seeing that all the bishops of Scotland are 
immediately subject to the Roman Church, that appeal 
from them must therefore be made immediately to the 
Apostolic See ; seeing moreover that, as his [Walter's] 
petition contains, such appeals from them and other 
ordinaries of the realm, and from judges delegate and sub- 
delegate by papal letters are frequent^ and are attended by 
delay of justice^ so that suitors sometimes implore remedy 
from the secular power to the prejudice of ecclesiastical 
liberty,' Walter is granted power to hear and decide all 
first appeals, and to cause his decision to be observed, 
invoking, if necessary, the aid of the secular arm.^ But 
this grant was personal to Trail, who was a particular 
friend of Clement VII. 

Patrick Graham, a great-grandson of King Robert III., 
was Bishop of St. Andrews in 1466. By his representa- 
tions to the Pope, made by letters, by deputies, and in 
person, it was at last conceded ^ that his see should be 
raised to an archbishopric with metropolitan rights over 
the whole of Scotland, including Galloway, the Sudreys, 
and Orkney. 

The position of Galloway had been for some time un- 
certain. From the view-point of the state the diocese 
was unquestionably part of Scotland, its bishops had taken 
part with other Scottish bishops in acts of state early in 
the fourteenth century^ and had been present in Scottish 
parliaments in the second half of the fourteenth century.* 
In 1430 James I. had by formal writ declared that the 
bishop, clergy, and tenants of church-lands in Galloway 

^ Cal. Pap. Reg. iv. 252. 

2 The bull of Sixtus IV. is dated 1 7 Aug. 1472. Theiner's MonumcfUa, 
No. 852. 

^See Acts Pari. Scot. i. 100. 

^As early at least as 1365 ; J.P.S. i. 138. 


were entitled to all the rights and privileges enjoyed by the 
same classes in other parts of Scotland. Even in matters 
ecclesiastical the Bishop of Galloway was beginning to have 
a place. In the Provincial Synod of 1420 the Bishop of 
Galloway was represented by a proctor.^ Still it was pos- 
sible that doubts might be raised as to the ecclesiastical 
position of that diocese. The bull of 1472 set all doubts 
at rest. Similarly the ecclesiastical status of Orkney and 
the Isles (Sudreys) was now definitely determined. 

As was only natural, protestations were made against 
the new arrangement by the Archbishop of York and the 
Archbishop of Trondhjem.^ But the most vigorous 
opposition to the appointment of the Metropolitan was 
from Scotland itself. The king, who had not been con- 
sulted, resented the change. According to Lesley the 
king's opposition was further stimulated by large gifts ot 
money from the other bishops,^ while the bishops who 
were to be the suffragans of St. Andrews were indignant. 
They had hitherto been subject to the Pope alone. And 
the place of honorary pre-eminence that attached to the 
office of the Conservator had from time to time been 
enjoyed by the occupants of various sees, the Bishop of 
St. Andrews having no more claim to the appointment 
than any other of the bishops. Still more important in 
their view would, doubtless, be the fact that the choice of 
the Conservator rested with the bishops themselves, that 
is, with the majority of their own body. 

To these objections, which belonged intrinsically to the 
metropolitan system, was to be added the accidental cir- 
cumstance that Graham had returned from Rome with the 
rights of Apostolic Nuncio for the express object of raising 
a new and hated tax on ecclesiastical revenues for the 
support of a war against the Turks. Letters and deputa- 
tions were sent to Rome to move the Pope, if it were yet 
possible, to alter the tenor of the bull. It is obvious that 
the remonstrances were not wholly unheeded. In Feb- 
ruary, 1474, the Pope, at the king's request, limited the 
jurisdiction of the archbishop in a very important respect. 

^ As were also the absent Bishop of Moray and the Bishop-elect of Ross. 
S.E.S. 11. 77. 

2 See S.E.S. 1. pp. cxll-cxlv. ^ /^^ rei>. gest. 305. 


Thomas Spence, Bishop of Aberdeen, together with all the 
'prelates,'^ clergy, and subjects of his diocese, was ex- 
empted from the jurisdiction of the Archbishop. The 
exemption, indeed, was to be of effect only during the life- 
time of Bishop Spence; but it might, perhaps, be regarded 
as the first sign of yielding on the Pope's part. So things 
remained for a time ; but the opposition was not wholly 
allayed. It is no part of our province to tell the strange 
and pitiful story of the deposition and degradation of 
Archbishop Graham, ^ 

It is, however, within our scope to notice that impending 
changes were foreshadowed by the Bishop of Glasgow, 
Robert Blackadder, being granted in 1488 a privilege 
similar to that which had been enjoyed by the Bishop of 
Aberdeen. Glasgow was pronounced exempt from all 
jurisdiction, correction, and visitation of the Metropolitan 
or his officials. This, it is true, was a privilege granted 
only during the time of the occupancy of the see by 
Blackadder. But the reasons assigned for its being 
granted — the contentions, quarrels and scandals arising 
from the attempt on the part of the Metropolitan to 
exercise jurisdiction over the wealthy and powerful diocese 
of Glasgow, were not of a kind which was likely to 

In the following year (1489) the Three Estates in 
Parliament declared that the honour and public good of 
the realm required that the see of Glasgow should be 
erected into an archbishopric with immunities, honours, 
and privileges such as those enjoyed by the see of York 
in the Church of England. Parliament further enacted 
severe penalties against all who should oppose the 
measure.^ This Act was communicated to Rome, and 
was supported by repeated, vehement, and almost threaten- 
ing letters from James IV, 

^ The word ' prelates ' was frequently applied to the heads of monastic 
houses, and sometimes to other dignitaries not of episcopal rank. 

^ There can be scarcely a doubt that the sanity of Graham had 
been seriously affected. The offences laid to his charge are mostly of a 
kind that can only be explained by supposing his mind to have been 

^J.P.S. ii. 213. 


On January 9, 1492, less than twenty years after the 
elevation of St. Andrews to metropolitan rank, Glasgow 
was erected into an archbishopric with metropolitan rights, 
to which the sees of Dunkeld, Dunblane, Galloway, and 
Argyll were annexed as suffragans.^ These sees were 
freed from subjection to St. Andrews, at least so long 
as Blackadder was Archbishop of Glasgow and Scheves 
was Archbishop of St. Andrews. The tentative and 
experimental character of the bull has been scarcely 
noticed by historians. At a subsequent time Dunkeld 
and Dunblane were restored to St. Andrews. The date 
of the transfer of the Isles to the province of Glasgow 
has not yet, so far as I am aware, been fixed. 

We have already noticed two instances in which suf- 
fragans were exempted by the Pope from the jurisdiction 
of the Metropolitan. Once again the same anomalous 
course was followed by the Pope in response to the 
supplication of the ambitious prelate, Andrew Forman, 
while he still occupied the see of Moray.^ In fact, 
there was evidently no settled policy at Rome ; but the 
Popes seem to have been swayed hither and thither 
under the varying pressure of circumstance. 

The exemption of a suffragan from the jurisdiction of 
a metropolitan, though highly exceptional, is not without 
parallels. Thus, in 1 33 1 , John XXII. exempted the Bishop 
of Exeter from the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of 
Canterbury. 3 And this exemption was confirmed in 1343 
by Clement VI.* Again, in 1348, Clement granted a 
like exemption to the Bishop of Lincoln.^ Thomas de 
Hatfield, Bishop of Durham, had been exempted from 
the jurisdiction of York by Clement VI. ;^ and in 1363 
Pope Urban V. was petitioned to revoke the exemption 
on the ground that Thomas feared not the rod of dis- 
cipline (his diocese being in remote parts, near the 
Scottish border), and had given himself over to a 

1 The bull of Innocent VIII. is printed in Regisirum Episcopatus 
Glasguensis, 472-3, and in Theiner's Monumenta, No. 889. 

- Sec S.E.S. p. cxxv. note. ^ Qril. Pap. Reg. (Letters), ii. 354. 

* Ibid. iii. 114. * C.P.R. (Petitions), i. 137 ; sec also 227. 

•^ C.P.R. (Letters), iii. 283. 



o ? 
OS -^ 

OS ^ 


dissolute life.^ Hatfield had been specially favoured by 
Clement VI. In 1345 he was allowed to choose his 
own consecrator ; which, however, was not to create a 
prejudice to the rights of the Archbishop of York.^ 

The disputes between St. Andrews and Glasgow with 
respect to the Metropolitan, Primatial, and Legatine 
jurisdiction of the former, during the occupancy of St. 
Andrews by James Beaton and his nephew the Cardinal, 
and the contest as to the right of the Archbishop of St. 
Andrews to carry his cross in the diocese or province of 
Glasgow, ending in a scandalous riot in the Cathedral at 
Glasgow, have been often recorded, and are all described 
with sufficient fulness in the pages of Joseph Robertson's 
masterly preface to the Statuta Ecclesiae Scoticanae.^ The 
last of the Archbishops of Glasgow before the Reformation, 
James Beaton, the second, was successful in obtaining a 
bull (dated 26 October, 1552) making the exemption of 
Glasgow perpetual. 

The introduction of the metropolitan system into 
Scotland, instead of strengthening and consolidating the 
Church, was the source of continuous and rancorous strife. 

We see then that for close upon four hundred years 
from the death of Malcolm Ceanmore, four hundred 
years of the most vigorous vitality of the medieval 
Church in Scotland, the bishops of Scotland had no 
local superior in the ecclesiastical hierarchy. Each one 
of them owed no obedience to any other than the 
Roman Pontiff. The Provincial organisation of the 
Church under a Metropolitan, or Metropolitans, did not 
last for more than some eighty years, when the whole 
fabric of the medieval Church collapsed with a sudden- 
ness and a completeness unparalleled in the history of 
any other country in Europe. 

1 C.P.R. (Petitions), i. 472. 2 Q.P.R. (Letters), iii. 214. 

^ S.E.S. i. pp. cxxviii-cxxxiii. 



It is not proposed to enter here on the difficult task of 
investigating the nature of the appointment of Bishops in 
Scotland during the Celtic period. We are concerned 
with constitutional questions as they emerged from time 
to time from the death of Malcolm Ceanmore down to 
the middle of the sixteenth century, that is, during the 
period of some four centuries and a half preceding the 

Some uncertainty exists as to the character of episcopal 
elections during the transition from Celtic to Anglo- 
Norman methods of procedure ; but after this borderland 
of debatable ground has been traversed, we find the method 
of the election of Bishops by the Chapters of their respec- 
tive Cathedrals well established, and, with certain excep- 
tional cases to be noticed hereafter, holding its recognised 
place for many years. Gradually, however, by steps 
which will be traced by-and-by, the rights of the Chapters 
came to be in fact ignored, and the appointments to 
bishoprics — and, indeed, to many other ecclesiastical offices 
of dignity or emolument — were made at the will of the 
Pope, though ordinarily not without a discreet regard for 
the wishes of the king, and eventually largely at his 

At the date of Malcolm's death (1093) episcopal juris- 
diction was, at least in theory, exercised over the whole of 
the dominions of the king of Scots by a Bishop, whose 
seat was at Kilrymont or St. Andrews, and who was 


known as *Episcopus Scottorum.' Indeed, long after 
the establishment of various dioceses, the Bishop of St. 
Andrews, though at that time possessing no jurisdiction 
over any diocese other than his own, still continued to use 
that ancient and honourable title. ^ 

In the first year of the reign of Alexander, son of 
Malcolm (a.d, 1107), we learn, on the authority of 
Eadmer, that, ' with the approbation of his clergy and 
people' the king made choice of the English monk, 
Turgot, Prior of Durham, to fill the vacant bishopric of 
St. Andrews. On the death of Turgot the see remained 
vacant for some years. Difficulties of various kinds, 
chiefly connected with rival claims made by York and 
by Canterbury to metropolitan jurisdiction over Scotland, 
which do not concern our immediate inquiry, were the 
cause of this delay. Eventually Eadmer himself, a monk 
of Canterbury, to whom we are indebted for most of our 
information as to these transactions, was appointed, to use 
his own language, ' eligente eum clero et populo terrae, 
et concedente rege.'- 

Want of fuller evidence makes it impossible to under- 
stand, with anything like precision, what were the actual 
facts which Eadmer represented when he wrote of himself 
as being ' elected by the clergy and people of the land.' 
It would be hazardous to infer that anything more than 
an approval of the royal nomination was allowed to the 
lay people. We may conceive the king suggesting a 
name in an assembly of his councillors, lay and clerical 
— the magnates of the kingdom — and the king's nominee 
being approved by acclamation or otherwise. Such a con- 
ception, at all events, falls in better with what seems to 
have been the usage in England during the later Anglo- 
Saxon period than any more formal process of election. 
The question, however, Is too much Involved in obscurity 
to allow of a more definite conclusion. 

^ We find the seals of Bishops Robert (1126), Arnold (1158), Richard 
(1163), Roger (1188), and William de Malvoisin (1202), bearing the 
legend, episcopvs scottorvm. The seal of William de Lamberton 
(1298) reads epi : sen : andree, and the expression Episcopus Scottorum 
does not appear, I think, at a later date than that of Malvoisin. 

^ Hist. Nov. iv. 


The account of the election of Waltheof, Abbat of 
Melrose, to fill the see of St. Andrews on the death 
of Bishop Robert (i 158) exhibits another trace of a voice, of 
some kind, being given to the people in the appointment 
of their Bishops. In Bower's narrative we read of ' the 
petition of the people, the election of the clergy, and the 
assent of the princes' concurring in the choice.^ But, 
again, the language is too vague to allow us to form a 
definite conception of what occurred. 

Again, in 11 74 when Jocelin, Abbat of Melrose, was 
appointed to the see of Glasgow, it was, according to the 
Chronicle of Melrose^ an election * a clero, a populo 
exigente, et rege ipso assentiente.' And as late as 
1235 we have the same authority for the election of 
Gilbert to the see of Candida Casa ' by the clergy and 

I am disposed to think that the expressions cited above 
afford an example of the survival of an old technical 
formula, persisting for a while in a condition of things 
which the language does not represent with accuracy. 
Such survivals are familiar in legal phraseology. And in 
things ecclesiastical we have just seen an example in the 
survival of the term Episcopus Scottorum^ as retained for a 
while by the Bishop of St. Andrews after his jurisdiction 
was confined to only one diocese out of many. The 
Bishop of Rome himself was said to be elected by the 
clergy and people of Rome for some considerable time 
after the people's voice was, for all practical purposes, 
silenced. It was not till the latter half of the eleventh 
century that the Cardinal Bishops took the initiative in 
the election ; and for a period after that time the assent 
of the clergy and people of Rome was sought, at least in 
form. Again, language of the same kind as that which 
we find in the Scottish records may be found in the 
English chroniclers at a time when practically the appoint- 
ment to bishoprics resolved itself into a royal nomination.- 

^ Scotichr. vi. c. 25. 

2 Thus, in the Historia de statu Ecclcs'uie ^unelmens'ts, by GeofFry, 
Sacrist of Coldingham, wc find that the election of Hugh to the 
bishopric of Durham in 1153 was ' cleri et populi consensu agnito.' 
Again, in the continuation of the Chronicle of Florence of Worcester 


And certain ancient ecclesiastical formulae exhibit the same 
kind of language. In the formula announcing the 
election of one of his suffragans to the Archbishop of 
Canterbury, the letter is addressed to the Metropolitan 
by ' the clergy and people.' Even in the appointment of 
the Archbishop himself the ' clergy and people ' are said 
to concur in their vota^ (from 1093 to 11 14). 

In this connexion I would call attention to the fact 
that, in some of our early Scottish charters, granting or 
confirming previous grants of lands and privileges, an 
expression is to be found that bears a considerable 
resemblance to some of those which we have been 
considering. Thus, in the charter granted by David I. 
to the Church of the Holy Trinity at Dunfermline, he 
confirms the widely extended possessions of that church, 
'with the confirmation and testimony of the Bishops, 
Earls and Barons of my kingdom,' adding the words 
'clero etiam adquiescente et populo ' (between 11 24 and 
1127 : Regis trum de Dunfermlyn). 

The same formula will be found in the foundation 
charter of Holyrood Abbey ; and as late as 1 1 54 
Malcolm IV. uses similar language in confirming the 
Abbey of Dunfermline in its possessions.^ 

It seems obvious that in the cases cited the ' assent of 
the people ' must be understood as given in some vague 
and indefinite manner, if indeed given at all. 

The case of the see of St. Andrews is peculiar and 
exceptional. Whether the community of Keledei settled 
at that place had, as such, a right to a distinctive voice in 
the election of the Bishop of that see, it is impossible to 
say ; but the fact that after the establishment of the 
Priory of Austin Canons at St. Andrews (which came to 

{sub anno 1 1 39), we read that Maurice was elected * by the clergy and the 
people' to the Church of Bangor, and presented to the king by the 
Bishops Robert, of Hereford, and Sigefrld, of Chichester. ' These made 
oath that he had been canonically elected . . . and the King confirmed 
their election.' The 'assent' of the clergy and people is claimed by the 
same author {s.a. 1128) for the appointment by the king of Gilbert, 
Bishop of London. [Cf. King Stephen's second charter of liberties in 
1136, wherein he styles himself 'assensu cleri et populi in regem 
Anglorum electus.'] 

^Jng/ia Sacra, i. 82. 2 See Jc(s Pari. Scot. vol. i. pp. 358, 363. 


serve as the Chapter of the Cathedral of that see) the 
Keledei were for a long period allowed a voice, together 
with that of the Cathedral Chapter, in the election of the 
Bishop, raises a presumption that this concession allowed 
to the Keledei (if we are not justified in speaking of it 
rather as a right) had its origin in a recognition of the 
privileges possessed by that ancient Celtic community 
in the times preceding the introduction of the Anglo- 
Norman ecclesiastical system. 

One thing is certain ; it was not till the year 1273 
that the Keledei ceased to be permitted to have a voice 
in the election of the Bishops of St. Andrews, along with 
the Canons, who formed the Chapter of the Cathedral. 
Their right, indeed, was questioned ; but as a matter of 
fact two of their number had (at the request of the king) 
been allowed to take part in the election of David de 
Bernham (1239) ; and two had (also at the instance 
of the king) taken part in the election of Gamelin 
(1254) under protest; but Pope Alexander IV. declared 
that these permitted acts of the Keledei were not 
to create a prejudice to the rights of the Chapter.^ 
The Canons -Regular of St. Augustine were settled 
at St. Andrews in 1145. Two years later Pope 
Eugenius III. confirmed the privileges granted them at 
their establishment, and expressly recognised their right 
to elect the Bishops of St. Andrews, making no mention 
of others. Yet it was not till close on one hundred and 
thirty years later that the Keledei were finally excluded 
from their privilege of having a voice in the election of 
the Bishop. On what plea the arrangement, which had 
lasted for so many years, between the old and new 
foundations, was brought to an end, we are not informed ; 
but it is plain from Fordun and the documents in 
Theiner's collection that the Keledei did not submit 
without a struggle. We find their provost {^prepositus)^ 
William Cumyn, visiting Rome in person in 1297 to 
prosecute an appeal against their exclusion. The appeal, 
indeed, met with no success. Yet they still continued 
to make ineffectual protests at subsequent elections, till 
in 1332 they seem to have finally abandoned the futile 
1 Thcincr, Mcnumenta, p. 67. 


contest. In truth, if we accept the authenticity of the 
bull of Eugenius III., which perhaps there is no good 
reason to question, it is impossible to doubt that the 
Canons-Regular had (in view of their rights) been acting 
a generous part in taking the Keledei into consideration 
at all. One may regret the extinction of such an ancient 
community as the Keledei of St. Andrews, but it must 
be acknowledged that they were not treated with the 
hasty violence which too often marks the action of bodies 
of men on whom the powers previously possessed by 
others had been conferred. 

After Cathedral Chapters had been erected, which 
seems to have everywhere taken place together with the 
creation of the new Dioceses in the twelfth century, the 
ordinary and canonical rule to be followed in the appoint- 
ment of Bishops was that the election lay with the 
Chapters of the respective Dioceses. The only exceptions, 
and that only for a time, were the Dioceses of Argyll, 
and, possibly, Galloway. These two exceptional cases 
will be noticed hereafter. Permission (Jkentia) to proceed 
to an election was ordinarily sought and obtained from 
the king, and his ' assent ' was afterwards asked to the 
result. In all cases the election had to be confirmed by 
the Pope. 

The order of procedure for an election by the Chapter 
was strictly regulated by the Canon Law, and any de- 
parture from that order might involve a declaration 
(when the election was submitted to the Pope for con- 
firmation) that the election ' had not been canonically 
celebrated,' and was therefore null. The order of pro- 
cedure may be sufficiently described as follows. A day 
for the election was fixed ; all those who had a legitimate 
concern in the election were duly summoned. When the 
day arrived and the electors were gathered together in 
one place the mass of the Holy Ghost was celebrated, 
and the aid of God, the Holy Ghost, was solemnly 
invoked.^ At this stage three courses were possible. 
These were very strictly prescribed by the Fourth Council 
of Lateran, and any departure from the canonical modes 

^ Probably, as at Canterbury, * per decantationem hymni, " Veni 
Creator." ' 


of election was punished by the forfeiture of the right of 
electing for that turn.^ 

The names given to the three modes of election were 
(i) election per scrutinium, (2) election per compromissum, 
and (3) election per inspirationem^ or as it was sometimes 
called, per viam Spiritus Sancti. And, as we shall see, 
examples of all three are to be found in Scottish record. 

The order to be followed in the case of an election 
' per scrutinium ' was that the Chapter, after a general 
discussion of the question, should choose three trust- 
worthy members of their own body, who were to take 
the votes of every member of the Chapter one by one. 
Each vote was given secretly, but was recorded in writing 
by the three Examiners, or * Scrutatores,' as they were 
styled. When the Examiners had counted and compared 
the votes, they announced the result. 

The Canon Law enjoined that he was to be declared 
elected who had obtained the votes of the ' greater and 
sounder part ' {major et sanior pars) of the Chapter. 
Ordinarily, it was presumed that the major pars was also 
the pars sanior.''- But the words ' et sanior ' obviously 
opened a door for dispute ; and examples are to be 
found w^here the vote of the majority was set aside as 
not complying with the requirement thus implied. 

The second mode of election, sanctioned by the Canon 
Law, was by the whole body of the electors committing 
the choice to certain persons, either of their own body or 
of outsiders, or to some of their own body, conjoined 
with one or more outsiders. This mode :of election was 
said to be by arbitration, or, technically, ' per viam com- 

^ See Mansi's edit, of Labbe and Cossar/, Tom. XXII, col. loi i. 

2 The formula used in Papal briefs when directing one or more 
Scottish Bishops to make enquiries, before the confirmation of an 
election, ' de electionis modo, eligentium studiis, et electi meritis * seems 
to point in the direction of weighing as well as counting votes. See 
Theiner, No. xix. That this was the case we learn from a particularly 
interesting little treatise written in England in 1254 by Laurence de 
Somercotcs, a Canon of Chichester and Subdcacon of the Pope. This 
little work has been lately printed by Canon Christopher Wordsworth 
in his introduction to the Lincoln Staltites, Part ii. cxxv.-cxlii. It 
describes at length the mode of proceeding in the election or postulation 
of Bishops. 


promissi,' and the persons delegated to make the choice 
were styled ' compromissarli.' It seems to have been a 
frequent mode of procedure, and we find several examples 
of it in our Scottish history. 

The third mode of election was said to be ' by inspir- 
ation.' This expression was made use ot when the 
universal concurrence of the whole body of electors was 
manifest, and when, without any debate or discussion, the 
name of some one proposed was accepted by acclamation, 
and as if by the immediate suggestion of the Divine Spirit 
{j)er viam Spiritus Sanctt). 

We shall have occasion to notice examples of each of 
these various modes of election later on. But it will be 
of service to explain at this point an expression that we 
often meet with in our historians. We frequently read of 
this or that person being postulated for a bishopric. This 
term always implies that there existed some canonical im- 
pediment or restriction, which, unless dispensed by the 
proper authority, barred the person chosen from taking 
office. Thus, if an ecclesiastic was of illegitimate birth, he 
could not, according to the Canon Law, be elected to a 
bishopric. In the case of the choice of the Chapter falling 
on such, he was not said, technically, to have been * elected ' 
(for they could ' elect ' only one who was * eligible ') ; but 
the Chapter petitioned (or technically ' postulated ') the 
Pope to dispense with the canonical restriction in that 
particular case. Again, if, as was not uncommon, the 
choice of the Chapter fell on the Bishop of another see, 
who had proved his fitness by his administration of another 
diocese, he could not be ' elected,' but it was necessary to 
' postulate ' him, that is, to petition the Pope that the man 
of their choice might be dispensed from the canonical im- 
pediment which arose from the tie, which, according to the 
theory of the Canon Law, bound him to the diocese to 
which he had been formerly appointed. A bishop was 
regarded as having been ' married ' to his diocese ; and it 
required a dispensation to release him from the bond 
thus formed.^ Again, if the choice of the Chapter pointed 
to a monk, it was necessary to postulate him from his 
' superior in religion,' to whom he had vowed obedience. 

^ See Van Espen, Jus Ecclesiast'icim Vnivenum, Pars I, tit. xv. cap. 6. 


Once more, the canonical rule was that no one could be 
elected to a bishopric who was under thirty years of age. 
Accordingly, again, there was need of a postulation in the 
case of the choice of the Chapter falling on one under 
the canonical age. 

Whether by the process of canonical election, or of 
postulation, an expression was given to the wishes of the 
Chapter. But in an early period, within the limits we 
have assigned to ourselves, we find a growing disposition 
on the part of the Pope to take the appointments to 
bishoprics and other offices of emolument and influence in 
Scotland practically into his own hands. We find a grow- 
ing practice of the Pope ' providing,' as It was technically 
called, to Scottish bishoprics, that is, appointing to them 
propria motu^ though generally not without regard to the 
known wishes of the electoral body or of the king. A 
feeling of resentment at what seemed very much like a 
usurpation of rights recognised by the common law of the 
Church is apparent In the language of Walter Bower, 
Abbat of the monastery of Inchcolm, in the Forth, the 
continuator of Fordun. Writing of Pope John XXII. 
conferring the bishopric of St. Andrews (1328) on James 
Bene, Archdeacon ot St. Andrews, before a knowledge of 
the result ot the election by the Chapter had reached 
Rome, Bower says the Pope seems to have reserved to 
himself the appointment to all the bishoprics of the 

As is well known to students of English Constitutional 
Law, the grievance of Papal ' provisions,' with the con- 
sequent Interference with the freedom of elections, was 
keenly felt In England. The outcome was the great 
Statute of Provisors (25 Edw. Ill, c. 4), enacted by 
Parliament In 1351. It was thereby declared that if the 
Pope collated to any archbishopric, bishopric, dignity, or 
benefice, to the prejudice of tree elections, or presentations, 
the patronage was to be fortelted to the Crown. And 
further, any person who had procured a * provision ' from 
the Pope, to the disturbance of free elections, was to be 
arrested, together with his procurators and notaries, and 

^ ' /2^' ^Li''*^' omncs episcopatus mundi ad collationem suam rcscrvavit.' 
Scotic/ir. lib. vi. cap. 45. 


imprisoned till he had satisfied the fine imposed by the 
king.^ The Statute of Provlsors was followed up the next 
year by an ordinance declaring the purchasers of Papal 
"'provisions' to be outlaws. In 1390 another Act was 
passed by Parliament strengthening the earlier statute. 

In Scotland, although there were not wanting some 
instances of courageous resistance to the exercise of 
legatine powers without the sanction of the king, there 
was no steady and continuous policy of resistance to 
Papal ' provisions ' and the interference with the freedom 
of elections. It was not till towards the close of the 
fifteenth century that we find the Parliament of Scotland 
(as we shall see) declaring against Papal ' provisions ' to 
benefices which were regarded as belonging to the 
patronage of the king during the vacancy of a bishopric. 
But as regards the appointments to bishoprics, it Is 
remarkable how little opposition was made to the claims 
of Rome. Indeed, the most noteworthy example of 
resistance to Rome on the part of the Crown in the earlier 
period was the unhappy case of the attempt of King William 
to force a nominee of his own on the Chapter of St. 
Andrews after the free election by them of another. In 
this case the Pope, Alexander III., who had vigorously 
supported Becket In his contest with Henry II., acted a 
similar part In his support of John the Scot, the elect of 
St. Andrews. And In this case it was the king, and not 
the Pope, who opposed the free election of the Chapter. 

Before proceeding to illustrate the general principles 
with respect to the appointment to bishoprics by the 
examination of particular examples. It will be well to say 
something of the Papal 'confirmation' required before any 
■election could be effective. After a choice had been made 
by the Chapter, two or three of Its members were 
commonly despatched to Rome, bearing the writ, or, as It 
was technically styled, ' the decree,' reporting the election, 
or, in the case of a postulation, a request together with a 
declaration setting forth in express terms the nature of the 
impediments to a canonical election, such as ' defect of 
birth,' occupation of another bishopric, or anything else 

^ The person who had obtained such a writ of appointment from the 
Pope was styled in England a ' provisor.' 


that required dispensation. If any persons were disposed 
to raise any objection, whether on account of alleged 
irregularity in the procedure or the alleged unfitness of 
the person elected or postulated, they too had to appear 
at Rome, either in person or by duly authenticated 
procurators. After a preliminary examination of the 
documents, ordinarily committed to some members of the 
College of Cardinals, it was not uncommon in the earlier 
period for the Pope to remit to three Scottish Bishops^ to 
investigate on the spot whether the procedure of the 
election had been canonical, and whether the elect was fit 
{idoneus). If all proved satisfactory, the Bishop-elect was 
then required to subscribe the oath of fealty to the Pope. 
If the later stages of the inquiry were conducted in 
Scotland, the three Bishops were authorised, if satisfied, to 
confirm the election 'in the name of the Pope,' and directed 
to provide that the elect should be duly consecrated. 

When the Pope refused to confirm an election, it was 
not the practice to state the reason, except in very general 
terms, as, for example, that the election had ' not been 
canonically celebrated ' ; and from this decision there was, 
of course, no appeal. As it was not uncommon for the 
Pope in such cases to claim the right of appointment^ 
there was, to say the least, a strong temptation to find 
some technical irregularity in the procedure. 

We are now in a position to understand the actual cases 
which I am about to cite, taken from the records preserved 
in the Vatican, and made known to the world through 
Theiner's Monujnenta. 

From the time of the establishment of the several 
Cathedral Chapters down to the Reformation we can 
distinguish two periods, though not marked off with exact 
precision from one another, in respect to the appointment 
of Bishops. An analysis of the Papal bulls relating to 
the appointment of the Scottish Bishops shows us that 
from the year 121 8, which is the date of the first of 
the bulls in Theiner's collection, down to the close of 

^ In I 218 Honorius III. committed to the Bishop of St. Andrews alone 
to inquire .is to the rcguLirity of the election, .ind the fitness of Gregory, 
Bishop-elect of Brechin, and if satisfied, to confirm the electioa 
•auctoritate nostra,' Theiner, No. xix. 


the pontificate of Clement V. (13 14) the elections, or 
postulations, of Bishops made by the Cathedral Chapters 
were respected at Rome, and ordinarily confirmed, or given 
effect to. Nor is there any reason to doubt that previous 
to 12 1 8, from the time of the erection of the Chapters, 
the same system, which represented the Common Law of 
the Church, generally prevailed. But a new era may be 
said to begin with John XXII. (1316).! From that time, 
with rare exceptions, the Popes claimed to have ' reserved ' 
to their own appointment, or ' provision,' as it was styled, 
all the bishoprics, and indeed, one may add, all elective 
offices and dignities of value, such as deaneries and the 
headships of the monastic houses. This was a great 
revolution. In England it was met, as has been observed, 
by such enactments as the several Statutes of Provisors. 
On the Continent, also, there was much discontent ; and 
what was regarded as the Papal usurpation of ecclesiastical 
patronage formed a constant ground of angry complaint. 
Among the many loud demands for ecclesiastical reform, 
which rang through the nations of Europe towards the 
close of the fourteenth century, the cry for the restoration 
of the freedom of election was one of the most distinctly 
formulated. At the Council of Constance (14 14-14 15) 
several prelates, more particularly those from France, 
protested against the manner in which the right of election 
had been abrogated by the system of Papal ' reservations 
and provisions.' In Scotland, however, I cannot detect 
till towards the close of the fifteenth century more than 
some rather indistinct murmurings. And I think one can 
offer a reasonable conjecture why discontent did not reach 
a very acute stage. Whether it was due to the lessons 
taught by the vigorous action of the State in England, or 
to some other cause, the Pope, while technically holding 
capitular elections, in the case of * reserved ' sees, to be 
null and void, nevertheless, as a rule, appointed, as it were 
proprio motu^ the person on whom the Cathedral Chapter 
had (in validly, according to the Papal judgment) fixed 
their choice. For it is curious and interesting to find the 

^ There are a few cases of direct Papal appointment previous to the 
accession of John XXII. After the death of John XXII. his successor, 
Benedict XII., confirmed a few canonical elections. 


Chapters continuing to go through the process of election^ 
with all its formalities strictly observed. Again and again, 
long after the system of Papal ' reservations ' had been 
well established, we find the Papal briefs assuming 
that the elections were made in ignorance of the reserva- 
tions which the Pope had made. On the ground of 
ignorance of the fact that he had ' reserved the see to his 
own disposal,' that is, had resolved himself to provide his 
own nominee for the bishopric at the next vacancy, the 
Pope condones the offence of the Chapter, and of the 
elect, who had assented to the election, and proceeds, 
as it were of his own motion, to appoint the very person 
whom the Chapter had chosen. Although the election 
was declared null and void, the electors, at all events in 
Scotland, were ordinarily granted to have as their Bishop 
the person whom they had chosen. In theory the rights 
of the Chapters were set at nought ; in actual fact their 
choice was generally made good. Hence, we may con- 
jecture, they felt little disposition to enter on what might 
prove a vexatious and fruitless controversy. 

After 137 1 the documents in Theiner's Monumenta fail 
us as regards the appointment to bishoprics. But it would 
seem from Fordun — or, to be accurate, his continuator 
Bower — that the Pope from time to time made appoint- 
ments where no election had been attempted. Indeed we 
find that although Gilbert Greenlaw, Bishop of Aberdeen, 
was postulated to St. Andrews, Henry Wardlaw is made 
Bishop of St. Andrews ' ex provisione domini Benedicti 
XIII.' Wardlaw's successor, Kennedy, was elected, we 
are told, ' by the way of the Holy Spirit,' or ' by inspira- 
tion ' (an expression already explained). But before the 
decree of the election reached the Pope, he had himself 
' provided ' Kennedy to St. Andrews. 

The exact nature of the appointment, towards the close 
of our period, of James Stewart, Duke ot Ross, second son 
of King James III. and Margaret of Denmark, to the 
metropolitan see of St. Andrews in 1497, is not apparent. 
It was certainly at the instance of the king, though I am 
unaware whether the form of postulation by the Chapter 
was gone through. But whether it was or was not, the 
Pope would no doubt assert his claim to appoint. As the 


Archbishop was only a youth, much below the canonical 
age at the date of his appointment, it was necessary that 
he should receive a dispensation from the Pope to hold 
even the revenues of the see as administrator. He 
was never consecrated. The successor of this prelate, 
Alexander Stewart, natural son of James IV., was appointed 
by Papal provision. Two dispensations were necessary in 
his case — one on the ground of bastardy, and the other on 
the ground of his not having reached the canonical age, 
for he was only a boy. It will be remembered that 
Alexander Stewart, though commonly styled ' Archbishop,* 
was appointed by the Pope only as ' administrator' of the 
archbishopric till he reached the age of 27, when he was 
to be provided in the fullest manner to the see. He fell at 
Flodden several years before the time designed for his con- 
secration. Long before the Popes had assumed the right 
of appointing to bishoprics in general, they had asserted 
their right to provide to the principal metropolitan sees. 

We may now revert to the earlier period, when the 
Common Law of the Church had not yet been very 
seriously invaded by the system of provisions, and examine 
the actual practice of the Scottish Church in the matter of 
Episcopal elections. 

In the early period I have observed only one example 
of an election ' by inspiration.' This was the case of 
Andrew, a Dominican friar, whose election to the see of 
Argyll was confirmed by Boniface VIII. in 1298. The 
popularity of any one among the members of the electoral 
body must of necessity have been very marked when, 
without any discussion (for this was essential, according to 
the Canonists), a general cry was raised on his behalf, 
and no dissentient uttered his voice.^ Of this Andrew, so 
elected, we know nothing. But in the case of Bishop 
Kennedy, of St. Andrews, in the second period, of whom 
it is also said that he was elected ' by inspiration,' one 
knows enough of his merits to mitigate our surprise."^ 

^Absolute silence (for silence gives consent) on tlie part of the 
assembled Chapter after a name had been proposed was taken for assent, 
as in the case of the election to Norwich in 1406. 

2 As the elections to the headships of religious houses were conducted 
on the same principles, we may cite, by way of illustration, the process 


Of the other elections of Bishops during the early 
period, we find a very few conducted ' per scrutinium,' 
that is, by a poll of the whole body of electors. The 
great majority followed the method already described and 
known as ' per compromissum.' A disputed election 
carried on among members of the same community, 
living, many of them, within the same Cathedral close, or 
even, as in the case of St. Andrews and Whitherne, within 
the same building, if we know anything of human nature, 
must have often gendered a very unedifying strife. It 
could not fail to mitigate the evil when the electors were 
willing to delegate the right of choice to a few persons 
whom they all agreed in trusting.^ At any rate, the 
method of electing ' by compromise ' was the favourite 
mode of proceeding. In 1239 the Chapter of Aberdeen 
conferred, the power of choosing for them on four of the 
canons and three of the city clergy, who elected the Abbat 
of Arbroath.- In the same year the Chapter of St. Andrews 
appointed the Prior and four of the canons to make choice 
of the Bishop. They selected David de Bernham. The 

of election in the case of the choice of the Prioress of the Cistercian 
nuns of Coldstream in 1538. After due citation of all the nuns, and 
after the mass * de Sancto Spiritu ' had been said, the sisters, eleven in 
number, assembled in the Chapter-house at the sound of the bell. The 
hymn, Vent Creator Spiritus, was sung by the sisters on their knees, and 
then without any discussion, and with one voice, and 'as we firmly 
believe by divine inspiration and by the grace of the Holy Spirit,' Jonet 
Hoppringill was chosen. — Ckartulary of the Cistercian Priory of Cold- 
stream, pp. 83-87. For a detailed account of the election per t'iam 
Spiritus Sancti of the Abbat of Cambuskcnneth in 1336, see the 
Chartulary of that abbey. No. 98. The account closely resembles that 
of the election of the Prioress of Coldstream. 

^ In the case of an election by the monks to the otHce of Abbat of 
Arbroath, we find the electors (who were divided in opinion) at length, 
on the advice of the Archbishop, agreeing to confer the power of choice 
on a single 'compromissarius ' the Prior of Fyvie. This was in 1483. 
Lib. de S. Thorn, de Arbr. ii. 209. 

'^ In this, and other examples, it will be observed that the referees to 
whom the power of electing was delegated were of an uneven number — 
doubtless to avoid the hitch that might arise from each of two names 
obtaining equal votes. In Regiam Majestatem (lib. ii. c. 5), dealing with 
arbitrators in civil affairs, we read (with a reference to Virgil's * Numcro 
Dcus impare gaudct,' Eclog. 8) : 'Debet autcm compromitti in numerum 
imparem, quo numcro Dcus gaudet, scilicet in unum, aut in trcs, et sic, 
de similibus'; after which the practical reason is assigned. 


Chapter of Brechin followed the same course in 1245, 
delegating their rights to three of their number. The 
electoral body could determine, when appointing their 
referees, delegates or compromissarii, as they were techni- 
cally styled, whether the choice which they promised to 
ratify should be made unanimously by the delegates, or 
whether they would accept as Bishop one who was chosen 
only by a majority of voices. In 1255 the Chapter of St. 
Andrews appointed nine of their own number as delegates 
or referees, declaring that they would accept as Bishop 
whoever might be chosen either bv the whole of the referees 
or by the majority. In 1274 the Chapter of Moray chose, 
as compromissarii, the Dean and the Treasurer of the 
Cathedral, together with an outsider, a canon of Caith- 
ness. In 1279 the Chapter of St. Andrews appointed the 
Prior, seven canons, and the Archdeacon of St. Andrews 
(who apparently was not a member of the Chapter) to 
make their choice. In the case of the election of Matthew 
de Crambeth to Dunkeld (1288), the Chapter appointed 
from their own body only the Dean and one canon, the 
other compromissarii being the Dean of Aberdeen, the 
Archdeacon of St. Andrews, and the Archdeacon of 
Teviotdale. As the choice of the compromissarii by the 
Chapter had to be absolutely unanimous, it would seem 
as if in this case there was much mistrust of one another 
among the members of the Chapter, since they actually 
chose a majority of their compromissarii from the clergy of 
other dioceses. This case is also interestinof from the fact 
that the election resulted in the choice of one of the 
compromissarii^ the Dean of Aberdeen, who was unani- 
mously chosen by the other four referees. 

Sometimes, in what may be called ' the terms of the 
reference,' it is expressly allowed to the referees to choose 
one of their own number. Thus, at the election (1296), 
' by compromise,' of Alpin, a canon of Dunblane, to the 
Episcopal throne of that diocese, it was expressly stated that 
the compromissarii might make their choice either de gremio 
ejusdem ecclesiae, i.e. from among the members of the capi- 
tular body of Dunblane, or from among their own number.^ 

^ Incidentally, the record of this transaction brings to our knowledge 
that the Abbats of Arbroath and Cambuskenneth were canons of 


In this case the number of referees was nine, and 
included the four ' principales personae ' of the Cathe- 
dral, the Dean, the Precentor, the Chancellor, and the 
Treasurer. At the election to Brechin (confirmed in 
1298) the compromissarii were five in number, and the 
terms of reference were the same as in the case last 
mentioned.^ In the same year the Chapter of St. 
Andrews, when appointing referees to elect to the vacant 
bishopric, made no such restriction as to the field from 
which choice was to be made ; they granted ' potestatem 
plenam et liberam.' And the choice fell on William de 
Lamberton, who was at the time Chancellor of the 
Cathedral Church of Glasgow.- In 1308 the Chapter of 
Dunblane again limited the choice of the referees, or 
compromissarii^ to the members of the capitular body, 
expressly including the referees themselves, who on that 
occasion were all members of the Chapter. The choice 
fell on one of the referees.^ In at least two instances of 
election to the see of Glasgow (as we learn from the 
confirmations of 1337 and 1339) the Chapter of the 
Cathedral followed a similar plan to Dunblane as regards 
the limitation of the field of choice. "^ 

Enough, perhaps, has now been said to make intelligible 
the method of election per viam compromissi. We may 
turn to examine a few cases of election per viam scrutinii^ 
or by taking the votes of the whole capitular body. 

In 1299 the Chapter of Moray proceeded to an election 
of a Bishop per scrutiniu?n. The examiners (scrutatores), 
according to what was probably the usual order, first 
recorded their own votes, and then took one by one, and 
secretly, the votes of the other members of the Chapter. 
The result was that thirteen votes were found to have 

Dunblane by right of their office ; and that the Abbat of InchafFray 
{Insula Missaruni) was Precentor of Dunblane, ex offido. Theiner, 
No. ccclv. 

1 Theiner, No. ccclxi, -Theiner, No. ccclxii. 

3 Theiner, No. ccclxxxvi. 

■•Theiner, Nos. dxl. and dxliii. It is worth observing that the first of 
these informs us of a Bishop of Glasgow, John, not recorded by Keith in 
his Catalogue. He succeeded John de Lindsay. See Scottish Historical 
Ret'iewy vol. v. p. 206. 


been given to David, one of the canons of the Cathedral, 
four to the Dean, one to the Archdeacon, and three to 
the Chancellor. The Pope, when besought to confirm the 
election of David, alleged that there was a defect in the 
procedure, but the nature of the defect is not stated. 
According to a practice that came to be not uncommon, 
the Pope thereupon himself appointed David ' by the 
plenitude of the apostolic power,' on the plausible ground 
that he was desirous of saving the Church of Moray from 
the danger and loss that always attended a prolonged 
vacancy in an episcopal see. 

A contested election, conducted per scrudnium^ took 
place at Dunblane in 1301. Several names appear to 
have secured votes, and among them that of Nicholas, 
Abbat of the Benedictine Monastery of Arbroath. 
Nicholas thereupon proceeded to Rome, and sought 
confirmation of his election. None, however, of the 
others who had received votes, though long expected, 
made any appearance either in person or by their proctors. 
Under these circumstances a plan was followed, which was 
often adopted when doubts were raised as to the validity 
of an election — Nicholas resigned into the hands of the 
Pope any claims he might have to the bishopric, and was 
at once promoted to the see ' de apostolicae plenitudine 
potestatis.' It is easy to understand why election by 
compromise was generally preferred ; and it seems to me 
probable that the number of elections per scrutinium would 
have been even fewer than they were but for the rule that 
absolute unanimity was required in the choice of the 
delegates to whom the power of election was to be 
transferred in an election per viam compromissi. Even one 
' crank ' among the members of the capitular body would 
be sufficient to force on an election by means of a poll of 
every elector. 

In the case of undisputed elections, immediately upon 
the announcement being made of the result, the elect, 
if present, was borne up to the great altar of the church 
and the Te Deum was sung. After this the person elected 
was required within one calendar month to say whether 
he assented or not to take office. It is common to find 
it said that the elect was reluctant, and onlv overcome 


by earnest intreaty. I^olo episcopari was the becoming 

The fact that no metropolitan jurisdiction was exercised 
in Scotland until the year 1472, when the see of St. 
Andrews was raised to archiepiscopal and metropolitan 
dignity, will account for the constant recourse to Rome 
for the confirmation of elections during the earlier part of 
the period with which we are dealing. In England, and 
all other countries where metropolitans had been estab- 
lished, it was to the metropolitan of each ecclesiastical 
province that the confirmation of episcopal elections 
within that province pertained. This was acknowledged 
by all canonists to be the Common Law of the Church. 
It is explicitly stated in the Decretals of Gregory IX., 
embodied in the Corpus Juris Canonici. In other countries 
it was not till about the time when the Popes, in 
effect, abolished capitular elections by the system of 
' reservations ' and ' provisions,' that they began to insist 
on confirmation being sought from them, and not from 
the metropolitans.^ But in Scotland the Pope was, up 
to 1472, the immediate superior of the Bishops; and 
accordingly recourse to Rome for confirmation was well 
established long before it became a necessity in England. 

By the time that Scotland possessed a metropolitan the 
appointment by Papal ' provision ' was the rule. Hence 
we do not find, so far as I can recollect, any example of a 
Scottish metropolitan being called on to confirm an epis- 
copal election. If there are examples, they must be tew. 

I have now to call attention to two remarkable cases. 
In the narrative of the election that took place at Aberdeen 
on the death of Bishop Gilbert Sterline, as recounted in 
the brief of Pope Gregory IX., dated 17th June, 1239,- 
we read that ' the clergy of the city of Aberdeen were 
convoked ' ; and we have already seen that of the seven 
delegates on whom the power of electing was conferred four 
were members of the Chapter, and three were from among 
the city clergy. Of course, it is possible that in this case 

^ Sec Van Espen, Part I. tit. xiv. cap. i. It was obviously foreign to 
the notion of the Pope's supremacy that a bishop provided bv him 
should have to seek confirmation from a metropolitan. 

" Thciner, No. xcix. 


there were some exceptional reasons for the course 
pursued ; but, on the other hand, what occurred may 
point to some definite arrangement like that which so long 
continued between the Chapter and the Keledei of St. 
Andrews. I have not, however, observed any subsequent 
reference to the association of the city clergy with the 
Chapter of Aberdeen in the election of Bishops. 

The case of Argyll is somewhat obscure. In earlier 
days election by the Dean and Chapter is distinctly men- 
tioned, as may be seen by the Papal letter appointing 
Andrew to that see in 1299.^ But in December, 1344, 
Clement VI., in a brief appointing a Dominican friar 
named Martin, relates that in the time of his predecessor, 
Benedict XII., a certain Angus Congall had appeared at 
the Papal court, laying claim to the bishopric of Argyll on 
the ground that he had been canonically elected by the 
clergy of the 'city and diocese of Argyll,' adding that to 
them, together with the Chapter, * according to an ancient 
and approved custom,' the right of election pertained. It 
was judged that the statement of Congall was not true. 
But it does not appear whether it was the allegation that 
he had been canonically elected, or the statement as to the 
' ancient and approved custom,' that was discredited. It 
seems improbable that Congall would have made a state- 
ment, so easy of refutation by the other claimant, had 
there not been some foundation for the peculiar mode of 
election to which he referred. Just ten years after we 
find, as it were, by mere accident, a curious confirmation of 
the truth of the statement of Congall. Among the trans- 
actions relating to the raising of the money required for 
the ransom of David II., there is a procuratory signed by 
several of the Scottish Bishops, who attached to their 
signatures not only their episcopal seals, but also the seals 
of their Chapters. The Bishop of Argyll appends only 
his episcopal seal ; and the note is added, ' non habet 
commune sigillum, quia totus clerus eligit.' " 

A case somewhat similar to that of Argyll will be found 
in the Irish diocese of Connor in Ireland, where, in 1390, 

^Theiner, No. ccclxviii. 

"-Acti Pari. i. p. i8. See the whole account in Theiner, No. dlxiv. 


the clergy of the ' city and diocese,' according to custom, 
elected the Bishop, there being no Chapter.' 

At this point it may be well to give a few examples of 
' postulations ' to Scottish sees. Postulations of bishops 
from one see to another are so frequent that it is un- 
necessary to cite illustrations. But some examples may be 
given of postulations rendered necessary by ' defect of 
birth,' or the illegitimacy, of the person chosen. In 1236 
Geoffrey, one of the king's clerks, was chosen per com- 
promissum to the bishopric of Dunkeld; but he had to be 
postulated, because he had been born out of wedlock. - 
Peter de Ramsay was postulated to Aberdeen in 1247: 
his father was a clerk in minor orders and his mother an 
unmarried woman.^ In 1245 the Chapter of Brechin 
postulated Albin, precentor of that Cathedral, for their 
Bishop although he had been ' de soluto genitus et soluta' * 

In 1247 Henry, Canon of Orkney, was postulated to 
that see ; and he was dispensed by the Pope of illegi- 

In 1248 Abel, Canon of Glasgow, obtained from the 
Pope a dispensation to be ordained priest and elected 
Bishop, though he was the son of a priest.^ This pre- 
sumably was the Master Abel who obtained the see of St. 
Andrews in 1254.'' 

Gamelin, Archdeacon of St. Andrews, and Chancellor of 
Scotland, ex soluto genitus et soluta, was postulated to the 
bishopric in 1254.^ It may suffice to mention one other 
instance. The good Bishop Elphinstone of Aberdeen had 
in the strict sense of the word been 'ineligible' for a 
bishopric, for his father was a priest and his mother an 
unmarried woman. The express statement of the Pope's 
letter" disposes of the good-natured notion put forward 
by Keith and Crawford, that the Bishop was the child of 

'^Calendar of Papal Registers, iv. 336. 

^Theincr, p. 33. ^Theiner, p. 47. 

■'Theiner, No. cxvi. This document enables us to date Albin's 
appointment two years earlier than the date assigned to it in the Preface 
to Regis/rum Brechinense, p. vii. 

•'C.P.R. (Letters), i. 241. ^C.P.R. (Letters), i. 244. 

"^ Ibid. 297. ^Theiner, No. clxi. ^Theiner, No. dcccxcv. 


a marriage which had been terminated by the death of his 
mother before his father entered into Holy Orders.^ 

Attention has now to be called to a peculiar case of 
dispute connected with the election preceding the conse- 
cration of Bishop Gilbert to the see of Galloway (Candida 
Casa) in 1235. '^^^ bishopric, it will be remembered, 
was at this time a suffragan see of York. The informa- 
tion we possess on the subject is derived from The 
Register, or Rolls, of Walter Gray, Lord Archbishop of 
York {Surtees Society, 1872), and from an account of the 
transaction given in the Chronicle of Melrose {sub anno 

The Chronicle gives the following narrative : ' W., 
Bishop of Whitherne, died ; and on the first Sunday in 
Lent, Gilbert, Master of the novices at Melrose, and 
formerly Abbat of Glenluce, was elected Bishop as well by 
the clergy as by the entire people of Galloway, with the 
exception of the Prior and Convent of Whitherne. But 
upon the Sunday on which is sung " Occuli mei " - the 
said Prior and Convent elected Odo, formerly Abbat of 
Dercongal,^ accompanied by whom they forthwith repaired 
to Walter de Gray, Archbishop of York, demanding from 
him consecration of the elect. They did not, however, 
prevail, for he had heard of the former election. Having 
listened to the pleadings on both sides, he rejected Odo, 
and consecrated the aforesaid Gilbert, monk of Melrose, 
to be Bishop, in the Cathedral Church of York, on the 
Sunday next before the Nativity of Blessed Mary.' * 

This very curious narrative receives some explanation, 
though by no means all that we could wish, from docu- 
ments printed by the Surtees Society. The election of 
Odo by the Chapter of the Convent of Whitherne, if 

^ The rule as to defect of birth {defectus natalium) applied equally to 
the heads of monasteries. For this cause, Richard, a monk of Kelso, 
who was chosen abbat by the community in 1253, had to be postulated. 
Theiner, No. clviii. 

^ These words are the opening words of the Introlt at Mass on the 
third Sunday in Lent. 

^That is, Holy wood, monasierium sacri nemoris, in Dumfriesshire, 
which, like Whitherne, was a convent of Premonstratensians. 

* The Feast of the Nativity of the Virgin is Sept. 8. 


celebrated with the license of the king (Alexander II.), 
was certainly in its result opposed to his wishes, and 
failed to receive his assent. The king intimates to the 
Archbishop of York that an appeal to Rome would 
probably follow on confirmation being given to the 
person elected by the Convent. The Convent had, it 
is well to observe, in their communication with the 
Archbishop, asserted that they had had the king's con- 
sent. Here was a plain issue as to a matter of fact. 
But the curious feature of the affair is that an election 
by the clergy of the diocese, excepting the very persons 
to whom presumably the right of election exclusively 
pertained, should be accepted as canonical and valid. 
The king in a letter to the Archdeacon and clergy 
assents to the election of Gilbert, ' because it was mani- 
fest to us that the election was canonically celebrated.' 
And the Archbishop of York would scarcely have ven- 
tured to confirm the election, even to oblige the king, 
had there not been some foundation for the claim made 
by the diocesan clergy. It may be noticed that in the 
correspondence preserved at York there is no allusion 
to the people having had any say in the matter. The 
question was between the Convent on the one hand 
and the diocesan clergy on the other. I take it that the 
statement of the Chronicle of Melrose as to Gilbert being 
elected, or chosen, by the people as well as the clergy 
represents no more than a generally, and perhaps vaguely, 
expressed desire on behalf of the lay people, such as 
seems to have been manifested in some cases already 
mentioned. The dispute perhaps originated in the rival 
claims of the king and the Lord of Galloway ' super 
patronatu.' ^ 

It has been recently brought to light that the question 
of the canonical character of these two elections to Gallo- 
way was in dispute for several years ; for as late as June, 
1241, the Pope committed to certain Irish ecclesiastics 
(the Bishops of Raphoe and Rathlure and the Archdeacon 
of Raphoe) to investigate the two elections, and, if they 
found that Odo had been canonically elected, they were 
to compel Gilbert to restore all he had received from the 

' Sec Lanfrcost, p. 62. 

lilSlIor Kl.rHIXSTOXE 
Born chra 1431. />/cv/ 1514. From oil fiaintiitg in t/ic University 0/ Ahei-dccn. 


see of Whitherne. If both elections proved uncanonical, 
they were to cause a fresh election to be made.^ The 
Prior and Convent of Whitherne had obviously refused 
to submit tamely to the king, and had appealed to Rome. 
The reference of the dispute to Irish ecclesiastics was 
probably to secure impartiality by appointing disinterested 

^Cal. Pap. Reg. vol. i. 198. 



We shall first say something o^ Investiture. At the opening 
of the period with which we are dealing we have in Scotland 
an echo, though only a faint and feeble echo, of the angry 
voices heard in England and on the continent of Europe 
with regard to the investiture of bishops by the king. In 
the language of feudal law to invest is to give actual posses- 
sion, whether of the rights of property or of the rights of 
office. Investiture was ordinarily effected by the delivery 
of some symbol, such as the delivery of a turf, or a branch, 
or stick, in the conveyance of land, or, in the convey- 
ance of the rights of office, by the delivery of some object 
commonly symbolical of office. 

It had been the practice of monarchs to convey to 
bishops the rights of exercising jurisdiction within their 
dominions by the delivery of a ring and a pastoral staff". 
But there grew up in the minds of some ecclesiastics, 
towards the close of the eleventh century, the fear that the 
acceptance of such symbols from the secular power might 
be understood as implying that the spiritual powers of the 
episcopate were derived from man rather than from a higher 
authority. The ring, indeed, as merely a symbol of 
dignity, and not infrequently used in the investiture of 
laymen, was less open to objection than the delivery 
of the pastoral staff or crozier.^ But even the delivery of 

^ For the use of a ring in the investiture of Sir James Douglas in all 
his lands in free regality by Robert the Bruce, see Cosmo Innes, Scotch 
Legal j^ntiijuities, 88. In 1500 Andrew, Bishop of Moray, invested 


the ring was capable of being understood in a sense 
inimical to ecclesiastical principles. The ring was regarded, 
in the case of its use by bishops, as symbolizing the 
maniage {conjugmn spirituale)^ as it was styled, of the 
bishop to his diocese. The union of a bishop to his 
diocese was regarded as close, and as indissoluble without 
a special dispensation from the Pope. And in the ecclesi- 
astical language of the time, when a bishop died his church 
was said to be ' widowed.' The pastoral staff, however, 
was obviously symbolical of the bishop's spiritual office as 
shepherd of his flock. Was it right then, they argued, 
that these emblems of a spiritual office should be conveyed 
by the hands of a layman, however exalted his station and 
dignity } These thoughts had been for some time exer- 
cising the minds of the clergy when they were laid hold of 
by the most masterful man of his time in Western Chris- 
tendom. Hildebrand, afterwards known as Gregory VII., 
was without any doubts as to the impossibility of tolerating 
the lay investiture. With the precision, definiteness, and 
force of a keen intellect and a resolute will he pressed his 
objection in season and out of season. His efl^orts met 
for a time with a varying success, but in the end he 
attained an almost complete triumph. 

One need not here refer to the struggle as it was carried 
on in England. For our purpose it is enough to observe 
that, when Eadmer was elected to the bishopric of St. 
Andrews in the reign of Alexander L, the English king 
had already given way on the question of investiture per 
annulum et baculum pastoralem. In Scotland, however, 
there was still to be a feeble effort on the part of the king 
to assert his claim. Eadmer consented to a compromise. 
He received the ring from the hand of Alexander; but he 
was quite firm in respect to the reception of the pastoral 
staff. This he declined to receive from the king, and he 
himself took that symbol of office from off the altar on 

Dougal, son of Roderic, as Prior of Beauly in Ross-shire by placing on 
his finger his (the bishop's) ring ij'he Charters of the Priory of Beauly, 
p. 1 14). And the ordinary parish priest was commonly invested by the 
bishop of the diocese in the spiritual charge of his parish by placing the 
bishop's ring on his finger, while he was afterwards inducted into corporal 
possession of the church by the Dean of Christianity, on a mandate from 
the bishop. 


which it had been previously placed. As has been 
explained, the delivery of a ring being often used in the 
investiture of lay feudatories of the Crown, Eadmer might, 
without any strain on his conscience, accept the ring as a 
symbol of his investiture in the temporalities of the see. 

Archbishop Anselm, the intimate friend and companion 
of Eadmer, had, after a long contest, come to an agree- 
ment (1107) with Henry I. of England. There was to 
be no investiture by ring and staff, but the bishops of 
the Church of England were to do homage on their 
appointment to their sees. They thus acknowledged that 
they were subjects, and acknowledged the king as feudal 
superior. This was all that Henry really sought, and so 
the struggle was brought to a close. 

The relations of the Scottish and English Courts were 
at the time close and intimate. Henry's first wife was 
sister of Alexander, and Alexander was married to Sibilla, 
a natural daughter of Henry. There can be little doubt 
that the policy of Henry towards the Church was eventu- 
ally, though slowly, reflected in the policy of Alexander. 
At any rate, after the time of Eadmer we hear little more 
of troubles in Scotland with respect to investiture. 

It would not, however, be proper to omit reference to a 
rather puzzling letter of Pope Gregory (doubtless Gregory 
IX.) which appears in Registrum Episcopatus Moraviensis 
(No. 78). It is addressed to the Dean and Chapter of 
Moray, and is in reply to their complaints as to their 
liberties being infringed or in danger of being infringed. 
The Pope strictly prohibits anyone from presuming to 
impede the free and canonical election of a bishop when the 
see is void, and also prohibits the Dean and Chapter from 
conveying the pastoral staff and other pontifical insignia to 
a secular court, to be afterwards received therefrom, ' since 
what is spiritual ought not to be given {exhiheri) by the 
secular power.' The date is 'Lateran, Ides of April in the 
fifth year of our pontificate.' If Gregory IX. is the author 
of the letter (and it is practically impossible that it could 
be any other) the year is 1231 ; and it may be added that 
in that year Gregory IX. was at the Lateran in April. ^ 
But what is perplexing is the fact, as it seems, that the 

1 Sec Mas Latric, Tresor de Chronologic, col. 1 1 16. 

Scottish Nationiil Portrait Gallery. 


see of Moray was not void at this date. Andrew of 
Moravia seems to have succeeded to the bishopric in 1222, 
and died late in 1242.1 We must not be tempted into 
the field of conjecture to explain the difficulty here pre- 
sented. It must suffice for our purpose to note that 
some time not long previous to 123 1 the Chapter of 
Moray feared an interference with the freedom of election, 
and that pressure had been put upon them to convey 
the pastoral staff et alia insignia pontificalia to a secular 
court, to be received again therefrom. 

Passing now from questions as to Investiture we go to 
consider the influence of the Crown on the appointment of 
the bishops. 

Not only did Henry I. of England abandon his claim to 
the investiture of the bishops, but he also conceded that 
for the future he would not appoint to bishoprics inde- 
pendently of the Chapters. In actual practice, however, 
the English king exercised at first a dominating and always 
a powerful control over episcopal appointments. The 
Chapters at first were required to meet for the election in 
the Chapel Royal, and in the presence of the king's 
Justiciar. After a time it came to be recognised that the 
Chapter should not proceed to an election until they had 
received the king's license {conge d'^lire), and, moreover, 
after the election the king's ' assent ' to the choice made 
had to be obtained. 

I cannot remember having come across absolutely 
conclusive evidence that the early Scottish kings required 
Chapters to hold the elections of bishops at the royal 
court. But one cannot but suspect that the departure 
from the usual practice of holding the elections in the 
chapter-houses of the respective Cathedrals exhibited in 
the three following cases (to which I have never seen 
attention called) was with a view to influencing the action 
of the electoral body. The Chronicle of Melrose records 
that in 1195 'Gregory, Bishop of Rosemarkin, died, and 
Reinald, monk of Melrose, was elected his successor 
upon the third of the Kalends of March, being the second 
day of the week, at Dunfermline.' That a bishop of the 
remote diocese of Ross should be elected at Dunfermline 

1 Chronica de Mailrcs. 


looks very significant. The second case is that of the 
postulation, in 1202, of William of Malvoisine to the see 
of St. Andrews, which, according to Sicotichronicon} was 
celebrated at Scone. Dunfermline and Scone were each a 
royal residence. The third case is the election of Jocelin 
to Glasgow in 1 174, which took place at Perth. - 

But passing from this minor point, it is beyond doubt 
that in Scotland the license to elect had first to be obtained 
from the king. And the king's assent to the result of 
the election was also sought before confirmation from the 
Pope was asked. Examples of such process will presently 
be given. One of the very few instances of the electors 
attempting to defy the wishes of the king was when, in 
1 178, the Chapter of St. Andrews, emboldened perhaps by 
the presence of the Papal legate, elected John, the Scot. 
The king, William the Lyon, utterly refused to accept 
John, and at his command Hugh, his chaplain, was 
consecrated, and put in possession of the see. The 
struggle that ensued, involving the grievous penalty of the 
whole kingdom being put under interdict and the king 
himself excommunicated, is a well-known incident in the 
ecclesiastical history of the country. But to the end the 
king adhered to his oath, ' by the arm of St. James,' that 
John, the Scot, should never enjoy the bishopric of St. 
Andrews, nor obtain rule in that see.^ In theory, however, 
the victory in the end remained with the Pope. For 
eventually both John and Hugh resigned all claims to St. 
Andrews into the hands of Pope Lucius IlL, a new pontiff, 
who grasped the situation more fully than his predecessor. 
On their resignation the Pope appointed Hugh to St. 
Andrews and John to Dunkeld, thus giving effect to the 
king's wishes, and making, as Lord Hailes observes, * that 
his deed which was the King's will! * 

According to Scotichronicon,^ when in 1253 the Chapter 
of St. Andrews elected Robert de Stuteville, it was in 
opposition to the expressed will of the king, who desired 
the election of his chancellor, Gamelin. But the Pope, 

^ Lib. vi. cap. 42. - Chron. Mai/ros, s.a. 

^ Scotichronicon, lib. vi. capp. 35, 36. ■* Annah, s.a. 1 183. 

■''Lib. X. cap. 8. 

Scottish National Pot-trait Gallery. 


probably moved by the remonstrance of the king, refused 
to confirm the election ; and took on himself to appoint a 
third man, Abel, Archdeacon of St. Andrews. Abel died 
after a few months ; and then the king had his way. 
Such cases of opposition to the king are highly exceptional. 

There is preserved at Rome in the Papal Regesta a 
document, printed by Theiner, which clearly testifies to the 
fact that it was believed in Scotland in the early part of 
the thirteenth century that the king could ' give ' a 
bishopric to whom he would. In 12 19 Walter, Bishop of 
Glasgow, was accused to the Pope, by one of the clergy 
of the Cathedral, of various offences of the gravest kind. 
Among these it was alleged that the bishop (who must be 
Bishop Walter), when he was chaplain to the king, gave 
to Philip de Valon, the king's chamberlain, ' one hundred 
marks, and promised a much larger sum to the Queen, 
in order that they might procure that the King should ^/i;^ 
him the bishopric of Glasgow. And so it was effected 
that, no canonical election intervening, he was promoted 
to the bishopric of Glasgow.'^ We need not concern 
ourselves with the question whether there was a foundation 
for this serious charge ; it is enough for our purpose that 
it was believed to be possible.^ 

It seems to me that in some cases the king may have 
left the Chapters free to make their choice, reserving to 
himself the right to give or withhold his 'assent' after 
the election had been made. This conjecture seems to 
fall in with the fact that disputed elections, though not 
very frequent, do occur from time to time. 

But another explanation may perhaps be given of these 
disputed elections. The measure of secrecy that was 
observed as to how the electors voted in the case of 
elections per scrutinium would render it easy for those 

1 Theiner, No. xxix. 

'■^The Chronicle of Melrose is very precise that Walter, the king's 
chaplain, was elected to Glasgow on the 9th Dec, 1207, and consecrated 
on the Feast of All Souls (Nov. 2) in the following year. There can be 
scarcely a doubt that there was at least the form of an election. The 
fact that, though the matter was remitted by the Pope to Pandolf, Bishop 
of Norwich, to investigate, Walter continued Bishop of Glasgow till his 
death in I 232, looks as though the offence was not proved, or was, at least, 


moved by conscience, or by personal animosity, to relieve 
their feelings without the dread of incurring royal dis- 
favour. At any rate, the prevailing custom seems to 
have been to seek first the king's license to elect (conge 
d'elire)^ the king also claiming the right to assent or 
dissent to the choice of the Chapter when made. 

Two documents printed by Theiner from the Regesta 
of Pope Gregory IX. put the position quite clearly. At 
the election of Randolf de Lambley, Abbat of Arbroath, 
in 1239, ^° ^^^ bishopric of Aberdeen, as it was reported 
to the Pope, the electors, ' the royal consent having been 
begged and obtained,^ canonically and unanimously elected 
our beloved son . . abbat of Aberbredac,' etc. 

The next record is even more valuable, for it refers 
both to the royal license and to the subsequent royal 
assent ; and speaks of the obtaining of these as being 
according to custom. In the narrative of the election of 
David de Bernham to the bishopric of St. Andrews, the 
Papal mandate relates that the Prior and Convent of St. 
Andrews ' having first sought and obtained according 
to custom (juxta morem) from our most dear son in 
Christ . . the illustrious king of Scotland leave to elect 
{eligendi licentid) elected Master David de Bernham, sub- 
deacon. Chamberlain of the said King.' And later in 
the writ it is said of the election that to it ' the king is 
said to have given his assent."' 

In the case of the disputed election to the see of 
Candida Casa in 1235, already referred to,^ it is to be 
observed that the Chapter had claimed, whether truthfully 
or not, to have the royal consent for their election. 

In this connexion it is worth noticing how frequently the 
more important sees were filled by appointments of the 
royal chaplains or other ecclesiastics holding offices in 
the king's court. From the CJironicle of Aielrose and other 
sources we gather the following particulars. In 1163 
Richard, the Chaplain of King Malcolm, was elected to 
St. Andrews; in 11 64 Engelram, the King's Chancellor, 
was elected to Glasgow; in 1169 Richard, the King's 

^ Theiner, No. xcix, ' Implorato et obtcnto consensu regio.' 
-Ibid. No. c. 3 See Scottish Historical Review, vii. pp. 18, 19. 

KIM. jAMK.> 111. 
Scottish National Po'trait Gallery. 


Chaplain, was elected to Dunkeld ; in 1187 Richard, 
' clerk of King William,' was elected to the see of Moray ; 
in 1 1 89 Roger, the kinsman and Chancellor of King 
William, was elected to St. Andrews. In 1199 William 
Malvoisin, the Chancellor, was elected to Glasgow, and 
afterwards was translated to St. Andrews. His successor 
at Glasgow was the King's nephew, Florence. In 1207 
Walter, the King's Chaplain, was elected to Glasgow. 
His successor (1223) was William de Bondington, the 
Chancellor. In 1207 Adam, the King's clerk, was elected 
to Aberdeen. In 1209 Walter, Chamberlain to Alan Fitz 
Roland (married to the King's niece), was elected to 
Whitherne. In 12 13 Robert, Chaplain of the King, was 
elected to Ross. And it would be easy to enlarge the 

Occasionally Fordun and Bower do not hesitate to 
express themselves freely as to the pressure put on 
Chapters by the king. Notably with regard to the 
election of William Wischard to St. Andrews in 1271, 
we are told that it was ' plus regis timore quam sui 
amore.' ^ 

Gamelin was elected Bishop of St. Andrews, and was 
confirmed by the Pope in 1255. Before his consecration, 
among certain charges made against him was the alle- 
gation that he had threatened the prior and canons of 
St. Andrews that if they did not elect him the king 
would expel them not only from their church, but also 
from the kingdom. We need not inquire whether the 
charges were true or false : it is enough for our purpose 
that they show what kind of charge was reckoned at 
the time as at least a plausible accusation."^ It was 
probable that his position as chaplain to the king and 
Chancellor of Scotland was quite sufficient to secure the 
choice of the electors. It should be remembered that, 
even were no pressure exerted on the part of the Crown, 
the Chapters would often be desirous to have as bishop 
one who by his influence at Court would be able to 
serve them in the frequent disputes arising as to the 
property and immunities of the Church. Certain it is 
that Scotland in this respect presented no contrast to 

'^Scotichron. x. 28. 'T\\t\x\eT, No. cci. 


England in medieval times. ' It is hardly too much to 
say,' observes a very competent authority on English 
Church History, the late Archdeacon Perry, * that there 
was not one of the more distinguished bishops of the 
medieval period who was not employed in some State 
duties.' ^ And this remark made with respect to England 
is not less true of Scotland. 

To our modern notions it is a little startling to find men 
appointed to bishoprics who were in the inferior ranks of 
the ministry. An example may be taken from England, 
and two or three from Scotland. Boniface, Archbishop of 
Canterbury, after his election received a faculty from 
Rome- to be ordained deacon and priest by any of his own 
suffragans. William Malvoisin, who was made Chancellor 
of Scotland in 1199, was only in deacon's orders when he 
was elected to the bishopric of Glasgow. On Saturday, 
24th September, he was ordained priest, and on the follow- 
ing day bishop by the Archbishop of Lyons. Henry le 
Chen was not in priest's orders when elected (1282) to 
Aberdeen.^ When Adam of Crail, one of the king's 
clerks, was elected to the bishopric of Aberdeen in 1207, 
the Pope inquired whether he had got himself ordained 
subdeacon with a view to his election.^ 

After the system of reservations and provisions by the 
Pope came to be in practice the rule, the wishes of 
the king were still generally effective. And towards the 
close of our period we have examples of the king directly 
nominating persons to the Pope, and the Pope giving 
effect to the nomination. In 1485 Parliament directed 
the king's commissioners to represent to the Pope that 
the king's will was that the Pope should allow the king 
six months to name to the Pope persons ' as is thankful! 
to his hienes,' and that none be promoted to prelacies or 
dignities 'without avise of his hienes.''* In an Act of 
Parliament of James V. (1526) we find a statement that 
practically represents the facts as they existed for some 
time previously : ' Quhen Prelaces, sik as Bishopprickes 

'^History of the Church of England, First Teriod, p. 506. 

^Cal. Pap. Reg. i. 200 ; xv. Kal. Oct. 1243. ^ Cal. Pap. Reg. i. 461;. 

*See Cal. Pap. Reg. i. 30. ^ yict. Pari. ii. 171. 

KIXi ; JA.MK> 1\ . 
Scottish Xational }'o>irait Gallery. 


or Abbacies, happenis to vaik, the nomination thereof 
perteinis to our Soveraine Lord, and the provision of 
the samin to the Paipe.' ^ The same language is again 
employed by the Parliament in 1 540.'^ 

On II Feb., 1544-45, the Earl of Arran, writing from 
Edinburgh to Cardinal Rudolpho Pio de Carpi, the special 
Protector of the Scottish Church at the Court of Rome, 
says : ' To this [the Scottish] nation an indult was of old 
granted by the Apostolic See, and was renewed by the 
last Clement (i.e. Clement VII.) by which it was permitted 
to the king's governors of the Scots within twelve months 
[from a vacancy] to nominate whom they would to all 
elective ecclesiastical dignities (omnibus electivis sacerdotiis) 
to be fully advanced (integre profici) by the Pope ' ; and 
he goes on to give the warning that the Scottish nation 
would defend their rights in this respect.^ 

After James IV. and his son, the youthful Archbishop 
of St. Andrews, had fallen in the slaughter at Flodden, in 
the confusion of the time Leo X. seized the opportunity 
of commending to the see of St. Andrews his nephew, 
Innocenzo Cibo, Cardinal-deacon of SS. Cosmas and 
Damian, ' thinking,' he said, in a letter to Margaret, the 
Queen-mother, ' that this would form a closer bond 
between us and your dear and beloved nation.' But this 
kind of token of Papal affection was naturally resented, 
and indeed was received with a storm of opposition in 
Scotland ; and, as the Pope afterwards candidly admitted, 
seeing that his provision was ineffective, and learning that 
the Queen and Council preferred one of their own people, 
he cancelled the provision, and advanced Andrew Forman 
(Bishop of Moray), Archbishop of Bourges, to the see.* 
He adds that if this appointment is accepted he will in 
future preserve (and extend) the privileges enjoyed by the 
Scottish nation. It is plain that even the masterful 
Giovanni de' Medici was made anxious by the effects 
produced by his blunder. A little later John, Duke of 
Albany, writing to Leo X., declared that it was a privilege 
and custom acknowledged by Pope Innocent VIII. (1484- 

1 Jet. Pari. ii. 309. ^ Ibid. ii. 378. 

^Epist. Reg. Scot. ii. 236-7. ^ Epist. Reg. Scot. i. 267. 


1492), Alexander VI. (1492-1503), and Julius II. (1503- 
15 13) that for eight months after the occurrence of a 
vacancy of a Scottish bishopric, or monastery, there should 
be no promotion by the Pope except ad preces Regias : 
and further that this rule was observed by the Popes 
above named even in the cases of vacancies occurring at 
Rome itself (eliam intra almae urbis ma^nia). This latter 
allegation is doubtless made because for some centuries it 
had been a right of the Pope, acknowledged throughout 
Europe, to appoint to any bishopric which had become 
vacant by the death or resignation of the bishop taking 
place at the Apostolic See, or its immediate neighbourhood. 

It would seem from what has been said that, while it is 
evident that the influence of the Scottish kings had always 
been great in determining the appointments made to bishop- 
rics, there had, towards the close of the fifteenth century, 
been something of the nature of a formal, or informal, 
concordat between the Popes and the Scottish monarchs 
on this subject. In 1485 we find James III., supported 
by Parliament, directing his commissioners to address 
strong language to the Pope about a recent appointment 
made by the Pope to the bishopric of Dunkeld. They are 
ordered to ' schew and declare determytly to our said haly 
fader that our souveran lord wil not sufFre maister George 
Broun nor nane othirs that has presumyt to be promovit 
to the said bischopric of Dunkelden, contrar our souveran 
lord's mynd, will and speciale wreting, to have ony 
possessioune of the samyn.' ^ It is true that the king 
eventually yielded the point, — induced, it is said, by a gift 
of money.' But the tone of the communication served 
as a warning to the Roman curia. 

Capitular elections were now a sham. What Gascoigne 
in the fifteenth century said of England is equally true of 
Scotland. An election was such only in name. The 
concurrence of the king and the Pope and a payment 
(ceria millia pecuniaruni) to the latter made a bishop.^ 

This chapter may now be brought to a close by briefly 
noticing three other features which disclose themselves in 

""Act. Pari. ii. 171. ^jviyln, Vltae Episc. Dunkeld. 28 ff. 

^ Loci e Libra Veritatis, 46. 

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Scottish JVati\'/ial Portrait Gallery. 


our study of the relations of the Scottish Crown to the 
Episcopate, (i) As in England, so in Scotland, the 
administration and usufruct of the temporalities of a 
bishopric, such more particularly as the bishop's lands, 
were claimed for the Crown during the vacancy of the 
see. The Scottish Exchequer Rolls supply several 
illustrations of this fact. The vacancies of episcopal sees 
were often prolonged, and there may have been tempta- 
tions in Scotland, as there certainly were in England, for 
the monarch not to hasten appointments. The basis of 
this practice of taking possession of the temporalities 
seems to have been the feudal conception that the bishop's 
lands and other temporalities were of the nature of an 
estate held in capite of the Crown, which in default of an 
heir reverted to the Crown, or as a fief which, because of 
the minority of the vassal, was subject to the lord's 
administration and profit. In close connexion with this 
was (2) the claim of the Crown to have the patronage, 
during a vacancy, of all benefices to which the bishop, if 
there were one, would be entitled to collate. Various 
notices of this claim, which was not always admitted 
without opposition, will be found in Joseph Robertson's 
preface to Siatuta Ecclesiae Scoticanae. To these features 
we have to add (3) the claim for a long period made by 
the Crown to the possession of the moveable goods of 
a deceased prelate. This involved the forbidding of a 
bishop to dispose of such property by testament. The 
gossiping Chronicle of Lanercost tells us that it was 
commonly believed that Richard, Bishop of Dunkeld (who 
died in i2']2), had been poisoned by order of King 
Alexander III., with a view to the king's obtaining 
possession of his moveable estate. After various attempts 
for the remedy of the hardship referred to, the matter 
was finally settled by the Act of Parliament of James II. 
in 1449-50. This Act was followed by a Royal Charter, 
a copy of which was transmitted to every bishop in 
Scotland. The Charter is thus summarised by Robertson : 
It ' not only gave the Prelates full and free power to 
dispose of their moveables by will, renouncing all claim or 
pretension on the part of the Crown ; but it provided 
that during the vacancy of a see the fruits of the bishop's 


mensal churches and the revenues of his spirituality 
should be collected and administered by the vicar 
general, under account to the bishop's successor. Yet 
while thus liberal as to the bishop's personal estate, the 
charter was careful to reserve the king's right during the 
vacancy to the real estate of the see, and to the advowson 
of all benefices in the bishop's collation. But a declara- 
tion was added, that in thus taking possession of the 
bishop's domains the Crown did not mean to eject the 
tenants, husbandmen, or labourers ; on the contrary they 
were to abide in their lands until the see was filled.' ^ 

^ Statuta Eccksiae Scoticanae, i. cvi. The Charter is printed in Jcia 
Pari. Scot. ii. 6i, 62. 



The reasons which originally determined the extent and 
boundaries of the several dioceses, are now in a large 
measure a matter only for conjecture. And the same may 
be said as to the choice of the several places in which the 
bishop's seat, see, or cathedra, was placed. The subject 
has been dealt with by Dr. Skene,^ and there is little to 
add to his exhaustive discussion. 

In some cases the knowledge, or tradition, of some pre- 
viously existent episcopal foundation, of British or Irish 
origin, seems to have suggested the revival of a see in the 
same place. It was certainly so in the cases of Glasgow 
and Whitherne, and was most probably so in the cases of 
Dunkeld and Dunblane. 

At Brechin there had been a house of Keledei, and it is 
certain that these Keledei were eventually superseded by, 
or transformed into, a chapter of secular canons. This 
change does not appear to have been conclusively effected 
till the middle of the thirteenth century. In the time 
of David I. a grant was made by the king to the * Bishop 
and Keledei of the church of Brechin,' of the right to 
have a market in the town of Brechin on Sundays.^ 
This grant was confirmed by King William. In 1250, 
Gregory IX., who in the year immediately preceding had 
confirmed to the Abbey of Lindores a grant of the Church 
of Dundee made by the bishop with the consent of his 
chapter, declared that no prejudice should be created to 
the rights of the abbey by the fact that the brethren who 

1 Celtic Scotland, ii. pp. 368-418. ^ Reg. Brech. i. p. 3. 


were in the church of Brechin, and had been called 
' Keledei,' were now called ' canons.' ^ These particulars 
point to the see having been placed where an existing body 
of ecclesiastics could be, and actually were utilised as a 

There does not appear to be any evidence as to the 
grounds for the choice of Dornoch and Rosemarkie as 
the episcopal seats of the dioceses of Caithness and Ross. 
All that can be said is that there had been churches in 
those places during the Celtic period.^ 

The Bishop of Moray's seat had at first been moved 
about by the bishops, pro lihitu et voluntate sua, between 
the little churches of Birnay, Spyny, and Kinnedor, the 
first a little to the south, and the two others a few miles 
to the north of Elgin. This we learn from a charter of 
Brice, Bishop of Moray, which is dated by Cosmo Innes 
between 1208 and 12 15. Bishop Brice adds that after 
consultation with the clergy of the Church of Moray and 
many viri prudentes^ he had supplicated the Pope to decree 
that the Church of Spyny, in which most of his predeces- 
sors had been installed, should be ever after the cathedral 
church of the diocese. The Pope, in response, com- 
missioned the Bishops of St. Andrews and Brechin and 
the Abbat (Guido) of Lindores to investigate the matter, 
and, if they were satisfied, to give effect to the wishes 
of Brice. This was done, and at Spyny a cathedral 
chapter was constituted, framed after the model of the 
cathedral chapter of Lincoln.^ But the cathedral was not 
destined to remain long at Spyny. Before 1224, repeated 
eff"orts had been made to have papal sanction for the 
transfer of the see to the Church of the Holy Trinity at 
Elgin, the grounds alleged for the proposed change being 
that Spyny was not a safe place in time of war, and also 
that it was situated in such a solitary spot that the clergy 
of the cathedral had to go a considerable distance to buy 
the necessaries of life, and that thus the services of the 
cathedral were interfered with. Again a commission was 
issued by the Pope, this time to the Bishop of Caithness, 

^ Chartulary of Lifiilorcs, pp. I I 7-1 19. 

2 See Origines Parochiales, ii. 567, 597. ^ 2^^^'/A Morav. pp. 40-43. 


the Abbat of Kinloss, and the Dean of Ross, who, on 
investigation, were in favour of the change. This was in 
1224. The building of the glorious cathedral church 
was soon begun, and at Elgin the seat of the bishop 
remained during the rest of the medieval period.^ 

There seems to have been a constant tradition in the 
Church of Aberdeen that the episcopal see was removed 
from Morthlach to Aberdeen. The records are in details 
confused and conflicting ; but perhaps the best solution of 
them is to suppose that there had been a bishop, probably 
of the monastic type, in the religious house of Morthlach in 
the eleventh century, and that on the property of Morth- 
lach being transferred to Aberdeen the monastic bishop 
ceased. During the period with which we are concerned 
we know only of the Bishop of Aberdeen. 

The seat of the Bishop of Argyll was placed in the 
island of Lismore in Loch Linnhe, where the remains of 
the cathedral (the smallest cathedral church in Great 
Britain) may still be seen.^ The bishop of the diocese was 
generally known as * episcopus Lismorensis,' though 
occasionally we find his title, as taken from his diocese 
rather than from his see, in the form ' episcopus Ergadi- 
ensis.' ^ The see had not been fifty years established when 
it was represented to Pope Innocent IV. that the situation 
of the bishop's seat in an island was not safe for those 
who dwelt there, and that access to it was dangerous by 
reason of a stormy sea. Accordingly in January, 1249, 
the Pope issued a commission to the Bishops of Glasgow 
and Dunblane to investigate all the circumstances of the 
case, and, if they thought fit, to cause the transfer of the 
see to a more convenient place. The Pope adds that he 

1 The commissioners of the Pope were addressed by the king (Alex- 
ander II,), on 5 July, 1224 He declared that he much desired the 
translation of the ecclesia sedis to the place 'juxta Elgyn,' which he had 
given to the bishop and clergy of Moray for the building of their church. 
Re^st. Morav. p. 19. The ratification of the transfer by the Pope's 
commissioners, is dated a fortnight later, on 19 July. Ibid. p. 65. 

2 It is less than sixty feet long by thirty in breadth, without transepts, 
aisles, or nave. Joseph Robertson's Scottish Jbbeys and Cathedrals, p. 78. 

3 As early as 1228 we find the vernacular form * Haraldus, episcopus 
de Ayrgaythyl.' R.M. 25. 


had been told that the King of Scots in the case of the 
transfer was willing ' to open the hand of his munificence' 
in endowment.^ We hear no more of the matter, and 
the seat of the bishop still remained at Lismore. 

The choice of Lismore as the seat of the bishop, when 
the bishopric of Argyll was erected about 1200, is probably 
to be connected with the tradition that the Celtic St. 
Moloc, or Moluach, ' bishop and confessor,' had had his 
church on the island. ^ 

The Cathedral of the Isles was situated almost up to the 
sixteenth century in the Isle of Man. It was not till 1498 
that the Pope issued an order ' for the erection of the 
Abbacy of Colmkill in the bischoppis sete of the His quhil 
his principale Kirk in the He of Man be recouerit fra 
Inglismen.' ^ 

The bishop's seat in Orkney seems to have been first 
placed at Christ Church, in Birsay, but was afterwards, in 
the first half of the twelfth century, transferred to Kirkwall.* 

After these few words on the sites chosen for the 
cathedral churches of the bishops we may proceed to con- 
sider the constitution and organisations of the cathedral 

The Constitution and General Organisation of the 

The cathedrals of Scotland were, with two exceptions, 
corporations of secular canons, that is, canons who were 
not bound by the vows of ' religious,' who were entitled 
to hold, and use at will, private property, and who lived 
(when resident) each in a separate house (jnansio, or mansion) 
in the immediate neighbourhood of the cathedral church. 
They were bound to comply with the statutes of the 
cathedral to which they belonged, but otherwise possessed 

^Thciner's Monumenta, No. 140. 

2 St. Moloc's feast was kept as a 'greater double' in the sixteenth 
century in the Church of Aberdeen. See ihc Aberdeen Breviary {pars 
esiival. fol. v, verso). His day was 25 June. 

8 See Reg. See. Sig. i. fol. 81. 

•* See Anderson, Orkneyinga Saga, pp. Ixxiv, 99. 


a large liberty of action. The two exceptions were St. 
Andrews and Candida Casa or Whitherne, the Cathedral 
of Galloway. In the former the chapter consisted of 
canons regular of St. Augustine ; in the latter the chapter 
consisted of brethren of the monastery of Premonstraten- 
sian monks, settled at Whitherne.^ 

The contrast between Scotland and England, in the 
thirteenth century, with respect to the proportion of secular 
to monastic cathedral foundations is very striking. In 
England, York, London, Lincoln, Lichfield, Hereford, 
Wells, Salisbury, Exeter, and Chichester, had chapters of 
secular canons. On the other hand, Canterbury, Ro- 
chester, Winchester, Ely, Worcester, Durham, Bath, and 
Coventry, were monastic foundations of Benedictines, 
and Carlisle (like St. Andrews) had its chapter of Austin 

We shall first deal with the constitution which was 
common to the great majority of the Scottish cathedrals — 
those having a chapter of secular canons. The constitu- 
tions of all the cathedrals (except St. Andrews and Whit- 
herne) were framed, substantially, on the same model. 
The chapter consisted of a body of ecclesiastics, forming 
a corporation, holding property for the common good, 
shared among its members, while to each member there 
was also assigned a separate allowance for his maintenance. 
The allowance, or prebenda^ was ordinarily derived from 
the revenues of some parish church (sometimes of more 
than one), of which the canon was the rector. The 
spiritual charge of the parish was handed over to a vicar, 
and, after due provision had been made for his support, 
and for other incidents, the free income was the property 
of the canon. Occasional variations on this, the usual 
way of providing for the maintenance of a canon, will be 
noticed by-and-by. The number of canonries attached to 
cathedral churches varied much. And even in the history 

1 A Bull of Adrian IV., dated 1157, gave the Bishop of Aberdeen 
authority to choose whether his chapter was to consist of 'monks or 
canons,' i.e. secular canons. R.A. i. 6. The result shows that he chose 
the latter. 

2 The four Welsh cathedrals, St. David's, Bangor, Llandaff, and St. 
Asaph, were foundations of secular canons. 


of the same cathedral, as time went by, new canonries 
were frequently added through the benefactions of the 
patrons of parish churches who would convey a church for 
the endowment of a new canonry, and a new canonry 
was created when the arrangement received the bishop's 

In addition to the churches, each of which formed the 
prebend of a canon, it frequently happened that the 
cathedral chapter possessed the patronage of several other 
churches, of which the free income, after providing for a 
vicar, went into the common purse of the chapter, and 
was divided once a year among the members of the 
chapter according to certain rules. These were styled 
* common churches.' To those who kept residence there 
was also a daily or weekly allowance for food known as 
' commons ' {communa or communid). Of this a double 
share was allowed to the dean.^ 

Further, besides the income derivable from the free 
revenue of prebendal and ' common churches,' the cathe- 
drals were possessed of gifts of land, often of considerable 
extent, bestowed by pious persons either for the general 
good of the corporation, or for some specific object con- 
nected with the maintenance of divine service, as, for 
example, for lights {ad luminarid). Sometimes a parish 
church was given for the last named object, as when the 
Church of Dulergussyn, in Strathearn, and the Church of 
Rathmorcus were granted ad luminaria to the Cathedral at 
Elgyn.'"' Again, we find the Church of Inveralian granted 
for the maintenance of the fabric of the same cathedral;^ 
and it would be easy to add to these examples. At this 
stage we must be content with conveying some general 
notions of the subject of cathedral finance. 

The comparative fulness of the statutes of Aberdeen 
Cathedral has induced me to take Aberdeen, and its laws 
and customs, as a guide to the knowledge of cathedral 
constitutions. Occasionally, when the law or usage of 
other Scottish cathedrals differs materially from that of 
Aberdeen, attention will be called to the fact. 

^The word communa or communia was .ilso sometimes applied to the 
share of money from the common churches. 

-Reg. Morav. pp. 70, 71. "^Ibid. p. iii. 


The body of canons was known as * the chapter,' and 
all questions concerning the management of the common 
property, such, for example, as the leasing, or the ex- 
cambion, of lands, were decided at a meeting of chapter, 
in which every member had the right to give his view, 
and where every act was decided by the vote of the 

Among the canons four occupied places of special 
authority and dignity. These were the Dean, the Pre- 
centor, the Chancellor, and the Treasurer. 

The dean {decanus) was the administrative head, and 
possessed disciplinary power not only over every member 
of the chapter, but also over the lesser clergy who were 
engaged in the conduct of the services of the cathedral, 
and, indeed, over the attendants and servants of the 
canons residing within the cathedral precincts. He was 
himself a canon, and a member of the chapter ; but his 
position was of such distinctive eminence, that nothing 
is more common than to meet the phrase ' the Dean a?id 
Chapter' in the old writs and charters. It is the formal 
designation of the community, collegium, or corporation; 
and to * the Dean and Chapter ' the letters of the Popes 
are commonly addressed. 

The canon next in dignity to the dean was the pre- 
centor, or as he was more commonly called, the chanter 
{cantor). It was his office to regulate the music used in 
the services of the church, to admit to office the boys who 
took part in the services, to see to their instruction and 
discipline, and to appoint the teacher in the song-school. 

The third in rank was the chancellor {cancellarius). It 
was his duty to see that the service-books had been 
correctly transcribed, to compose the letters and charters 
of the chapter, to read, in the meetings of the chapter, 
letters and other documents that had to be considered, to 
prepare the list {tabula) of singers and readers told off 
weekly for the several services, and to be responsible for 
the safe custody of the books in the library of the chapter. 
He was the principal custodian of the chapter's common 
seal. He exercised control over the grammar school of 
the town, and appointed the master. The chancellor was 
necessarily a man of some literary attainments. 


Fourth in dignity was the treasurer (jhesaurarius). , He 
was custodian of the treasures of the church, the precious 
relicks, and the ornamenta^ largely consisting of vessels of 
silver and gold and costly vestments. At Aberdeen it was 
the duty of the treasurer to provide certain of the lights 
and tapers, incense and charcoal for the thuribles, rushes 
and mats for the floor, and the elements of bread and 
wine for the celebration of mass at the several altars.^ 

The four officers whose duties have been very briefly 
indicated were known as the principales personae^ and 
sometimes as the dignitaries, of the cathedral. When 
sitting in choir, the principales personae occupied the four 
terminal stalls; — at the west end of the choir stalls 
sat the dean on the south, and in the corresponding 
stall opposite to him on the north sat the chanter; while 
in the two terminal stalls at the eastern end of the top- 
most row of stalls the chancellor sat on the south and 
the treasurer on the north. The reasons for this arrange- 
ment are not stated, but it obviously enabled these four 
officials to supervise the behaviour of the whole body of 
clerks and boys while the services of the Canonical Hours 
were being sung. That there was need for such super- 
vision is plain from certain of the cathedral statutes.- 

How the Dean and Canons were appointed. 

Still taking Aberdeen as representing the constitution of 
cathedrals founded with a chapter of secular canons, we 
learn that by its early constitution all the prebends attached 
to canonries, with the exception of that of ' the canonry of 
the deanery,' were in the gift of the bishop. The dean 
was chosen, — to use technical language, — ' elected or 

^ At first this was done at the expense of the dean {R.J. ii. 45), but 
afterwards (1456) at the expense of the dean and chapter {ibU. 76). 
If Moray followed in all particulars the customs of Lincoln, which it had 
taken as a model, the treasurer would be also pay-master of those serving 
in the cathedral. 

-In 1366 we find it enacted of the clergy, 'qui, cum in choro fuerint, 
gravitatem servent quam locus et officium exigunt, non insimul aut cum 
aliis confabulantcs seu colloquentes, aut litcras vel scripturas alias legentes,. 
sub pena ut supcrius est expressum.' R.A.\\.6i. As late as i 540 we find 
an injunction to the like effect. Ibid. 116. 


postulated ' by the whole body of the canons, or by the 
' greater or saner part ' of them.^ If the election, or 
postulation, was canonical, that is, conducted in due form, 
and the person chosen ' fit ' (Jdoneus)^ the choice of the 
canons was confirmed by the bishop ; and the dean-elect, 
after taking a solemn oath of fidelity, by which he 
promised to defend the rights, customs, and liberties of 
the cathedral, was installed in choir and assigned his place 
in chapter by the bishop himself, or by some canon 
deputed by him for the purpose. Each of the canons 
was also required, before being admitted, to take an oath 
of fidelity and of obedience to the bishop and the chapter. 

As time went on n&w canonries were founded, and 
sometimes the founder reserved to himself and his suc- 
cessors the right of presentation to the prebend, and 
sometimes the right of presenting, not only to the prebend 
attached to the cathedral, but also to the vicarage of the 
prebendal church." 

At the Cathedral of Ross in 1235 it seems that there 
were only four canonries, and that the prebends of these 
were so small that the canons could not reside.^ Eventu- 
ally the prebends reached some nineteen or twenty in 

In the earliest notice (1256) which we have of the 
constitution of the chapter of Aberdeen we find that 
there were (including the dean) thirteen canons. By 
the year 1425 the canonries had increased in number to 
twenty-nine.* It seems impossible to ascertain precisely 

^ Pope Alexander IV. to the Bishop of Ross (1255). * Statuisti quod 
major Decanus sicut in Saluberiensi ecclesia eligatur.' Theiner, p. 70. 

^ There were numerous varieties in the arrangements: thus Duncan, 
Earl of Fife, in 1330 allowed the bishop to erect the church in Kin- 
cardine O'Neil into a prebend of the cathedral, reserving to himself and 
his heirs the right to present to the prebend on every third vacancy, 

^ Theiner's Monumenta, No. 80. 

^ The sketch given by some Aberdeen ecclesiastic in 1527 {R.A. ii. 
pp. 251-253), after recounting the thirteen canonries of the time of 
Bishop Peter de Ramsay, records the foundation of the other canonries 
as follows: (14) Crechmont in 1262 ; (15) Lummey in 1314; (16) 
Aberdour in 1318 ; (17) Forbes in 1325 ; (18) Ellon in 1328 ; (19) 
Kincardine in 1330 ; (20) Invernochty in 1356; (21) Methlack in 
1362 ; (22) TuUynesIe in 1366 ; (23) Dulmaok in 1368 ; (24) TurrefF 


the number of canonries at Glasgow in the earliest days 
of the cathedral. In 1170 Pope Alexander III, confirmed 
twenty-seven churches to the bishop ; but of these fifteen 
would appear to have been *mensal' churches of the 
bishop {quae proprie ad mensam tuam spectant). If this was 
so at the time, it is certain that several of them were after- 
wards erected into prebends of canonries; for the bishops 
were often generous benefactors of their cathedrals. Even- 
tually there were at least thirty-two canonries at Glasgow. 
The Cathedral of Moray, according to the bishop's original 
foundation, had (including the dean) eight canons. The 
number was afterwards largely increased, till it eventually 
reached some twenty-four or twenty-five.^ Brechin never 
possessed a large chapter : the diocese was the smallest 
in Scotland. The original canonries, as declared in 1372, 
were only eleven in number, of which four were ' dig- 
nities,' viz. the deanery, the precentorship, the chan- 
cellorship, and the treasurership.'^ But, as in other cases, 
we have here also erections of new canonries, such as 
Lethnot (1384), Glenbervie and Futhnewyn (Finhaven) 
in 1474. 

It has been already explained that each canon, whose 
prebend was a parish church, was bound to provide for 
the maintenance of a priest to take the spiritual charge 
of the parish. In early times the clergyman appointed 
to this office was sometimes a stipendiary, removable at 
will. But precepts from Rome and local synodical enact- 
ments insisted on the deputy, or vicar, who served the 
parish having a permanence of tenure. And thus even- 
tually prebendal parishes came to be served by deputies 
known as ' Perpetual Vicars.' ^ 

The arrangement as to stipend between the canon 
rector and his perpetual vicar varied in different cases. 

in 141 2; (25) Kinkel in 1420; (26) Coldstain in 1424; (27) Rothwen 
and (28) Monymusk in 1425. In this list the bishop's canonry with the 
prebend of St. Nicholas, Aberdeen, is not included. 

^ In 1473 there were apparently twenty canons. See Reg'tst. Moraz'. 
p. 256. 

"The archdeacon was a canon, but not a dignitary. R.B. i. 19. 

^The same rule was enforced in respect to the appropriate churches 
of monasteries. 


Sometimes the tithes of grain, known as the ' garbal 
tithes,' or ' greater tithes,' were assigned to the rector, 
while the tithes of milk, butter, cheese, wool, and of 
lambs, calves, and young of other animals, generally 
known as the ' lesser tithes,' were counted as the vicar's 
portion. Sometimes the whole revenues of the parish 
were assigned to the rector, who was required to pay 
to the vicar a fixed sum of money, or ' pension,' as it 
was called. Thus, about 1430, John Cameron, Bishop of 
Glasgow, erected six new canonries in his cathedral, the 
prebends of which were six parish churches. The bishop 
in his decree of erection enjoined that the vicars of five 
of these parishes should receive an annual pension of 
twenty marks, while the sixth was granted a pension of 
fifteen marks. ^ 

It is a matter ot history that the chapters of at least 
two of the Scottish cathedrals, — and those two among 
the most wealthy and influential in the kingdom, — had 
sought guidance from England, if not at the time of 
the original founding of the cathedral bodies, at least 
in the re-adjustment of their constitutions. While the 
Cathedral Church of Moray was still situated at Spyny 
the dean and the chancellor of the cathedral made a 
journey to Lincoln to ascertain on the spot the nature 
of the constitution of that great cathedral. It is an 
interesting fact that the earliest account of the con- 
stitution of Lincoln that now remams anywhere is to 
be found in the document supplied (12 12) at request by 
the dean and chapter of Lincoln to the dean and chapter 
of Moray, preserved in the Register of Moray, now in 
the possession of the Advocates' Library."^ It would 
appear that even before this visit Bishop Bricius, who 
must have been acquainted with Lincoln, had resolved 
on making it his model. But it should be observed that 
although the constitution of the Cathedral of Moray was 

^The vjordi pensio was used in a general way of any annual payment to 
whomsoever made out of the revenues of an ecclesiastical benefice. 

2 A similar case is that of Salisbury, of the constitution of which our 
earliest information comes from a document which had been supplied for 
the use of the Cathedral of Dublin. See Register of St. Osmund {Rolls Series). 
The Lincoln constitution of 121 2 will be found in R.M. and in W.C. 

'• 537- 



based on that of Lincoln, It was ' the use of Salisbury ' 
that was followed in the rendering: of Divine Service.^ 

In 1259 Glasgow obtained from the dean and chapter 
of Salisbury an account of the constitution and customs 
of that famous cathedral. But the chapter of Glasgow, 
with excellent good sense, resolved to adopt only those 
provisions which might appear to them useful, and also 
reserved to themselves the right to change those which 
they had adopted if a majority of the chapter thought fit.-^ 

There was in the constitutions of the English cathedrals 
founded with secular canons a large and substantial agree- 
ment. Differences were mainly to be found in customs 
and minor points of ritual. 

We have good ground for believing that the same is 
true of all the Scottish cathedrals with chapters of 
secular canons. 

Vicars of the Choir and Boy Choristers. 

We have now to direct attention to another class of 
vicars, entirely distinct from the parochial vicars. Every 
canon was bound to provide a deputy to take part in the 
services of the cathedral. This deputy was known as 
the canon's ' Vicar of the Choir,' or ' Vicar Choral.' 
Another name frequently applied to this official is 
' stallary ' (stallarius)^ that is, vicar attached to the canon's 
stall in the cathedral, as distinguished from the vicar in 
charge of the canon's parish. 

The statutes of the cathedral, or the bishop's decree 
for the erection of a new canonry, prescribed whether the 
vicar attached to any particular stall should be a priest, a 
deacon, or a subdeacon. In a few cases the obligation 
imposed on the canon was to maintain a certain number 
of boys to assist in the services instead ot providing a 
clerk in Holy Orders. Thus in certain statutes of 
Glasgow (J 1426-46) we find the canon who had Duris- 
deir as a prebend required to provide tor the support ot 
six choir-boys instead of a vicar. In 1437 there were at 
Aberdeen twelve priest-vicars, seven deacon-vicars, and 
ten subdeacon-vicars. The salaries ot these vicars are 

^R.M. p. 109. - R.G. i. 174. 


recorded. One of the priests received six pounds ; one, 
five pounds ; and the remaining ten, four pounds each. 
One of the deacons received three pounds, six shillings, 
and eight pence ; and each of the others two pounds, 
thirteen and four pence. The subdeacons had salaries of 
two pounds, except one who received only one pound, 
six and eight pence. 

The allowance which the canons were required to make 
to the vicars of their stalls was augmented in some 
cases by appointing vicars to chaplaincies in the cathedral. 
It was a common practice for members of the greater or 
lesser baronage, and for persons of means, such as the 
well-to-do burgesses of the towns, to endow an altar in 
the cathedral, where masses would be said or sung for 
the well-being of the founder or others, while living, and 
for the repose of their souls after their decease. In some 
cases a priest distinct from the vicars of the choir was 
appointed to this duty, and received the revenues from 
the endowment. But in other cases the chaplaincy was 
given to one of the vicars. Again, pious persons some- 
times assigned rents expressly for the benefit of the 
vicars.^ Thus in time the vicars of the choir came to 
be possessed, after the manner of a corporation, of 
property for their own exclusive profit. In the excerpts 
from the Martyrology of Glasgow ^ we find Bishop 
Andrew (obiit 1473) ^^ 'founder of the college of the 
Vicars of the Choir of Glasgow.' This probably refers 
to the bishop's ratification (1467) of a mortification, in 
favour of the vicars, of lands and rents.^ The vicars 
were numerous, as compared with the canons who 
kept continuous residence, and their influence was, 
at least in Glasgow, so considerable that it had to be 
expressly stated (.''a.d. 1200-2) that they had no voice 
in the election of the bishop, with which alone the canons 
were entitled to deal.** 

At Brechin, in 1447, an inhabitant of the town, by name 
Robert of Hyll, made a grant, for the good of the souls 
of himself and his wife, etc., of a tenement in the town, 

^ See the gift of a house with a croft to a deacon-vicar and sub- 
deacon-vicar. R.G. i. 181. 

2/?.G. ii. 614. 3i?.G. ii. 414. 4^.G. i. 84. 


together with an acre of land to ' the chaplains of the choir ' 
of Brechin at a rent of ten shillings, to be paid to the 
king for all secular service.^ This grant was confirmed 
under the Great Seal in 1450 ; and in 1453 seventeen 
' vicars and perpetual chaplains of the choir ' (named) 
oblige themselves to allow Hill and his wife to have the 
use of the house and the acre of land for their lives, — the 
occupants agreeing to keep the roof in repair and pay the 
ten shillings to the king's exchequer. Hill was also to 
pay the vicars one mark, in return for which the vicars 
engaged to sing a trental for him and his wife when they 
should depart this life.^ This case illustrates very well 
the growth of the property of the vicars-choral ; and the 
motives which commonly prompted such benefactors are 
also apparent. The choir-vicars or chaplains of the choir 
(for the names seem to be used indifferently) had their 
' common procurator ' to transact their legal business.^ 
The vicars-choral holding property in common finds 
frequent parallels in the cathedrals of England. 

The term ' Chaplains of the Choir ' {capellani chori) is 
sometimes used simply as an equivalent for priest- 

It was the general rule in Scottish cathedrals whose 
statutory regulations have come down to us, that the 
habit used at the choir services by the vicars should be 
provided by the canons, each supplying his own vicar 
with a surplice and cope of coarse black cloth, as at Aber- 
deen in the thirteenth century. And, both for decency's 
sake and for the protection of the purses of the canons, 
there were regulations that the vicars should be careful 
to preserve their vesture expressly tor use in church, to 
take it off as soon as they returned to their houses, and to 
keep it in a clean place.'* In the next century (1366), 
besides the surplice and cope, an amess (or cape) of black 
fur (almuchium nigrum fiirr a tuni) had to be supplied by each 
canon to his vicar. ^ A variety of usage in the Cathedral 
of Ross will be noticed hereafter. 

> R.B. ii. 68. "-Ib'id. ii. 78, 96, 97. ^ Ibid. 102. ^R.A. ii. 48. 

'•' Ih'id. 58. It is pLiin from Bishop Ingclram's constitutions of 1448 
that the capucium fodcratum considered as the same vesture as the 
black furred amcss of 1366 R.A. ii. 72. 


As time went on the stipends of the vicars of the choir 
were increased ; and at Glasgow, for some of the vicars, 
the stipend was actually doubled in the year 1480. It 
would seem that there was a difficulty in getting clergy to 
undertake the duties at the small stipends originally fixed. 
The purchasing power of money was falling ; and the resolu- 
tion of the chapter, we may feel quite sure, was not the 
outcome of mere good-nature. The deed, in which the 
resolution is embodied, sets forth that the ordinance is 'to 
the praise of Almighty God, and the increase of divine 
worship, and to the end that the number of those serving 
God in the choir of Glasgow may be increased.' ^ It does 
not appear, on the face of the ordinance, that this doubling 
applied to any but five-pound vicars. 

At Elgin in 1489 the stipends of the vicars of the choir 
were fixed as follows : — One received 12 marks (Scots) ; 
six others, 10 marks ; one, 8 marks ; three, 7 marks, and 
six, 5 marks, each being paid by the canon whose vicar he 
was.^ The vicars-choral at Elgin were to receive four 
months' notice before the termination of their engage- 

At Aberdeen, in i 506, as we learn from the constitu- 
tions of Bishop Elphinstone, the allowances to the vicars 
of the choir had increased considerably since 1437. A 
new arrangement was made : the sums assigned to be 
paid by each canon were thrown into a common fund, 
and from that the priests who were vicars, now twenty in 
number, were paid ten pounds each ; two deacons received 
eight pounds each ; and two subdeacons, each six pounds, 
thirteen and fourpence. It was designed by Elphinstone's 
constitutions that there should be eleven boys and two 
acolytes. Each acolyte was to be paid four pounds, and 
each boy two pounds, thirteen and fourpence. If we add 
to those mentioned a sacrist receiving ten pounds a year, 

1 The writ then proceeds, * We the Dean and Canons of Glasgow, 
whose names are subscribed, consent for ourselves and our successors, and 
severally each consents, to the augmentation of the stipends or pensions of 
the Vicars of the Choir ministering in our stalls in the manner following.' 
It is then provided that each vicar who formerly received five pounds 
should for the future receive ten from the prebendary in whose stall he 
ministered. R.G. ii. 443. 

'■^ Reg. Morav. pp. 268-269. 


and the master of the song-school {magister scholae musices)^^ 
to whom the precentor paid six pounds per annum, we 
have a tolerably accurate picture of the whole cathedral 
establishment, in addition to the dean and canons. 

By the same constitutions it was enacted that the 
vicars-choral should receive the usual and customary 
communia^ and a decent habit. 

A most important rule of Elphinstone's constitutions 
was that which gave fixity of tenure to the priest-vicars. 
They were to hold office for life, unless deprived by 
process of law. In fact, it is plain that Elphinstone desired 
to raise the position of the priest-vicars : they were from 
that time forward to be instituted to their office with the 
formal ceremonial of placing a ring upon the finger. - 

From what has been said it may be observed that the 
deacon-vicars and subdeacon-vicars were very much 
reduced in number, and their places supplied by priests. 
As a reason for this I would offisr the conjecture that as 
the stipends of the vicars came to be eked out by pay- 
ments made from foundations for masses for the dead, it 
was desirable that vicars should be capable of profiting 
from this source of revenue, and therefore should be in 
priest's orders. 

It has been conjectured that the origin ot vicars of the 
choir is to be found, not as a device for allowing or encourag- 
ing the non-residence of the canons, but in the obligation 
upon the canons to sing the service of the church, a duty 
which many of them were quite incapable of pertorming. 
However this may be, much care was taken that the vicars 
were competent to take their several parts in the service. 
Before appointment they were subjected to a careful 
examination as to whether they knew how ' to read and 
sing ' {an sciat legere et cantare), i.e. as one may presume, 
to interpret the musical notation of the Gregorian plain- 
song, and to render it vocally. If they passed this 
examination successfully, they were subjected to a year's 
probation that they might learn the three service-books 
that contained the music of the choir services, viz. the 

^ This official is styled in .mother ordinance of Elphinstone * Preceptor 
schoLie cantationis.' R.J.W. 115. 
^R.J. ii. 93. 


Psalter, the Hymnary, and the Antiphonary.^ In Elphin- 
stone's sixteenth century ordinance we read that the 
vicars should be instructed ' at least in Gregorian song.' 
The words, ' at least ' point, I imagine, to the fact, known 
to us from other sources, that music arranged in harmony 
for different voices and with contrapuntal adornments, 
designated in the language of the period as ' prick-song,' 
was now coming into use.- 

To those familiar with the long files of boy-choristers 
in modern cathedrals, it may be a surprise to learn that in 
the thirteenth century statutes of Aberdeen provision is 
made for only four boys well instructed in song, who were 
to receive payment out of the common purse. Two of 
these boys, in addition to singing, were to act as taper- 
bearers, and the other two as thurifers. As we have 
already seen, at a later time the number of the boys was 
increased to eleven, according to Bishop Elphinstone's 
design, though it would seem that eventually no more 
than six were actually on the foundation.^ At Glasgow, 
too, there were no more, so far as I have observed, than 
six choir boys. 

If not at first,"* certainly before the close of our period, 
separate residences were provided for the vicars at Aber- 
deen and Glasgow, and presumably at the other cathedrals. 
At Glasgow we find a record of a gift of ' orchards,' that 
is, kitchen-gardens, for the vicars. At Aberdeen, in the 
sixteenth century, there is a reference to the locus vicariorum 
being constructed anew, and the direction is given that 
the gates should be closed at eight o'clock in the evening 
during the winter, and at nine in summer.^ 

^R.A. ii. 47. "-Ibid. 102. 

^Compare R.A. ii. p. 109 and p. iio. 

* It seems probable that, before separate residences were provided for 
the vicars of the choir, each vicar lived in the manse of the canon whose 
vicar he was. This was not uncommon in England. 

^ In this connection it may be mentioned that we have in the same 
body of statutes an ordinance ' quod mulierculae non famulentur in 
domibus canonicorum aut capellanorum, nisi causa necessitatis et gratia 
importandi ea quae domui sunt necessaria, quibus expletis statim 
recedant et quod desuper fiat articulus inquisitionis annuatim tempore 
visitationis.' R.A. ii. 117. 


The vicars of the choir, it would thus appear, were less 
badly provided for than one might at first imagine. 
Besides their stipends they had their place of residence, 
their choir-habit, and generally, if not always, a share in 
the daily allowance, or quotidian, as it was styled. When 
they became formed into a corporation or collegium^ they 
had further their shares of the rents of their lands and 

The duties of the vicars in choir and at the altar are 
laid down with much particularity. But to describe them 
would demand on the part of the reader a greater familiaritv 
with the details of ecclesiastical ritual and ceremonial than 
it is reasonable to expect from any but technical experts. 
The singing of the services of the canonical hours and the 
celebration of certain masses v/ere indeed essential elements 
in the very idea of a cathedral. But to deal adequately 
with the details of the service and the accompanying 
ceremonial would require a considerable treatise, of interest 
only to liturgical students. 

So little has been discovered about the Cathedral of 
Ross that it may be allowable here to give a few particulars 
derived from a letter of Pope Alexander IV. to the bishop 
confirming his cathedral ordinances in the year 1255.^ 
Beside the four usual principales personae (of whom the 
dean was to be elected by the canons, ' as in the Church 
of Salisbury ') there was a subdean and a succentor. 
All these six had to be in priest's orders ; the archdeacon 
should be in deacon's orders, and all the other canons in 
priest's, or deacon's, or subdeacon's orders. The bishop, 
who held a prebend, was to provide ' a perpetual priest- 
vicar,' and give him a stipend of six marks. The arch- 
deacon had also to provide ' a perpetual priest-vicar.' 
The simple prebends were each to furnish a subdeacon- 
vicar and to supply him with a black cope and surplice. 
The perpetual priest-vicars ot the choir were to supply 
their own copes and surplices. The four dignitaries had 
also each a choir-vicar, presumably a priest, and the stipends 
were provided not out of the purses of the dignitaries (as 
was usual elsewhere) but from the revenues of certain 
churches. It may be observed that the appointment of 
^Thcincr, pp. 69-70, 


any perpetual vicars-choral seems unusual at this period, 
though at a later date we find (as has been noticed) Bishop 
Elphinstone giving the vicars-choral of Aberdeen fixity of 

In 1350, John, Bishop of Moray, in a petition to Pope 
Clement VI., states that there were then seventeen residen- 
tiary chaplains in the Cathedral of Elgin who could not 
live on their stipends, and he prays the Pope to confirm a 
gift which he made to them of two churches, Brounath 
(? Brynnath) and Altre (Altyre), of the value of 40 pounds 
of Tours, and also the gift of Alveth (Alves) made to them 
by Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray, valued at 20 
pounds of Tours after the parochial vicar's allowance had 
been deducted.^ 

The vicars of the choir played a very important part 
in the actual life of the cathedral communities, more 
especially in the too frequent absence of the canons ; and 
it has been thought well to describe their position with 
some fulness. 

^ Calendar of Papal Registers : Petitions to the Pope, vol. i. p. 200. 



Having exhibited a general view of the two bodies of 
ecclesiastics, the canons and the vicars of the choir, who 
figure in the old records, we may proceed to deal with 
some minor details of interest. If not at the beginnings 
of the Scottish cathedral establishments, certainly at a later 
time, we find that a canon was appointed to perform the 
duties of the dean in his absence. He was known as the 
subdean. Similarly the precentor had a deputy, known 
as the subchanter or succentor. The treasurer, again, 
was assisted in that part of his duties that concerned the 
care of the ornamenta of the church and the providing of 
the things necessary for the celebration of mass and of 
divine service, by one or more officials known as sacrists. 

The requirements as to the residence at the cathedral 
of the dean and canons will appear to most as extremely 
indulgent. In the first body of cathedral statutes of 
Aberdeen that have come down to us, dated 1256, the 
dean was required to reside only ' the greater part of the 
year,' and that, either continuously or at intervals. The 
other three of the principales personae, the precentor, the 
chancellor, and the treasurer, were not required to give 
more than six months' residence.^ Permission might be 
given to any canon, excepting the dean, whether holding 

^ I cannot recollect finding any notice in the Aberdeen statutes of the 
length of residence required of a canon, not being a dignitary. At 
Wells, in the thirteenth century, an ordinary canon had to reside six 
months if he were to receive anything from the corporate or common 
funds of the chapter, while the dignitaries had to reside eight months 


or not holding a dignity, such as that held by a principalis 
persona, to the effect of relieving him altogether from 
residence, if engaged in the service of the king or of the 
bishop, or if studying at the ' Schools,' that is, the English 
or foreign Universities. The frequency of the presence 
at Court of ecclesiastics holding high office in the Church 
is a feature very observable to those who will examine 
the names of the witnesses to royal writs or charters, while 
there is ample evidence that the large body of those learned 
in the Canon Law had frequented the more famous of the 
great continental seats of learning. At Glasgow (1266) the 
four principales personae had to reside at least half the year, 
and the other canons only three months,^ Canons not 
personally resident lost the daily or weekly distribution 
of commons ; but otherwise, if they kept the minimum of 
residence, or were licensed to be absent, they drew the 
whole of their prebend (after providing for their parochial 
and their choir vicars), as also their share of common 

In 1366, at Aberdeen, an ordinance was adopted with a 
view to restraining the growing evil of non-residence. It 
w^as enacted that every canon not keeping ' due residence 
to the Statutes ' should be mulcted in one-seventh of the 
income of his prebend, which sum was to be divided 
proportionally among those who had kept residence. ^ 

It is plain that the larger the number of canons who 
failed to keep the minimum of residence the more there 
was to divide out of the common fund among those who 
satisfied as to residence. By the regulation just referred 
to a further addition was made to the income of the 
residents. Thus it was plainly the interest of the few 
resident canons that as many as possible of the other 
canons should not reside. 

At Aberdeen, in 1448, a change was made in the desti- 
nation of the fine of a seventh : it was no longer to go 

(see Freeman's article on 'Cathedrals of the Old Foundation' in Essa'js on 
Cathedrals (1872), p. 149) ; but, as we have seen, at Aberdeen only six 
months' residence was required of the dignitaries, so we may suppose that 
a shorter period must have been all that was required from an ordinary 

^R.G. i. 172. "-R.A. ii. 57. 


to the incomes of the resident canons, but to the ' fabric 
of the churchj' that is, the fund for the repair of the 
building and the up-keep of the furniture, ornamenta, 
etc. From what has been said it is plain that for many 
of the canons their prebends were simply of the nature 
of pensions with no personal duties attached. The 
revenue of an ordinary, or, technically, a ' simple ' canonry 
was said to be ' a compatible benefice ' {beneficium com- 
passihile)^ that is, a benefice which could be held in 
conjunction with one or more similar benefices. Hence 
it is very common to find canons of cathedrals pluralists 
on a large scale. The evil was not so marked at first, 
but it grew to large dimensions before the Reformation.^ 

Of course, with the help of papal dispensations, which 
will be dealt with hereafter, there was scarcely any limit 
to the number of benefices that might be accumulated 
on any one person. 

Frequency of Non-residence. 

The late Mr. E. A. Freeman, in his essay on ' The 
Cathedrals of the Old Foundation,' in which he deals 
with the English cathedrals having chapters of secular 
canons," remarks that ' the canons as a class became non- 
resident,' and notices cases where even the heads of 
religious houses, who by reason of their office could 
not be resident, were from time to time appointed to 

1 A few examples may be given by way of illustration. Thomas Bell 
(143 l) was at once a canon of Aberdeen, a canon of Brechin, perpetual 
vicar of Montrose, and official of Brechin {R.B. ii. 34). John Senes, 
Doctor of Decrees (1445) was a canon of Glasgow, a canon of Aberdeen, 
and Official-General of St. Andrews {R.'B. i. 98). Master William 
(1266) was archdeacon of St. Andrews and canon of Glasgow {R.G. 
i. 174). In 1500 Andrew Liel was treasurer of Aberdeen and canon 
pensionary of Brechin {R.B. i. 218). In this case it may be presumed 
that a dispensation had been procured from the Pope, for the treasurer- 
ship of Aberdeen was an ' incompatible benefice.' It was by a dispen- 
sation of Innocent VI. (1367) that William Greenlaw was allowed to 
hold conjointly the archdeaconry of St. .Andrews, the deanery of 
Glasgow, and a canonry in the cathedral at Elgin {R.B. ii. 396). 
Andrew Dunbar (1544) was dean of Moray and canon and Official- 
General of Glasgow {R.G. ii. 555). 

^Essays on Cathedrals, by various writers, pp. 137-155. 


canonries In English cathedrals. The story of our 
Scottish cathedrals is not without examples of the 
same strange practice. In the first half of the thirteenth 
century we find the Abbat of Scone as a canon and 
prebendary (of Kildonan) in the Cathedral of Caithness. 
He was to supply a priest-vicar to the cathedral but was 
not bound to residence.^ At the close of the thirteenth 
century (1296), in the small chapter of Dunblane, there 
were no less than three abbats holding canonries — the 
Abbats of Inchaffray, Arbroath, and Cambuskenneth.^ The 
first named held the precentorship, an office which in 
theory required continuous residence. And, moreover, 
we learn from the papal letter,^ which supplies this 
information, that they held their cathedral appointments 
' ratione dictorum monasteriorum.' But apart from such 
exceptional cases it is plain that the non-residence of the 
canons was a common feature in the actual life of the 
cathedral foundations. Once appointed, there were many 
men who preferred to accept the revenue derivable from 
their prebend, even though diminished, as for example 
at Aberdeen, Moray and Glasgow, by the fine of a 
seventh, and to lose their share in the fund derivable 
from the common churches, than to make residence. 
The statutes of Aberdeen at successive periods show how 
hopeless it was to contend against the growing practice of 

As early as 1262 the statutes of the Cathedral of 
Glasgow are very frank in the language they use as to 
non-residence. ' Certain of the canons are pleased to 
bear the name,' we are told, ' and are wiUing to receive 
in full the revenues of their canonries ; but they entirely 
neglect to perform the duties of their office.' ^ The same 
language is repeated a hundred and seventy years later.* 
Accordingly, rules were drawn up to mitigate the evil ; 
but they were drawn up by a body consisting, among 
others, of many of the defaulters, and they seem to us 

iThe evidence will be found in Origlnes Parochiaks, vol. ii. part ii. 
pp. 601, 622. 

•-^Theiner's Monumenta, No. 355. ^ 'P^eg. Glasg. i. 172. 

* Ibid. ii. 341. 


sufficiently indulgent. The dean, precentor, chancellor, 
treasurer, and subdean, were bound to reside for at 
least six months each, while the other canons might 
satisfy by three months. Residence might be continuous 
or at intervals, in no case less than thirty days' con- 
tinuous residence being allowed to count. Failure to 
meet these requirements was punished by the loss of 
the share in the division of the ' communa ' and the 
loss of one-seventh of the prebend, which seventh was 
to go to the building, or maintenance of the fabric of 
the cathedral. In the distribution of the ' communa ' 
(the term being here applied to the share of income . 
from * common churches '), the reasonable rule was 
adopted that the canons who had qualified by sufficient 
residence were to receive shares in proportion to the 
amount of the measure of their services. The rule as 
to residence was not to apply to the two archdeacons, 
inasmuch as their duties involved their absence in the 
visitation of the parish churches in their respective 
archdeaconries (Glasgow and Teviotdale). 

It is plain from the statutes of Bishop John Cameron 
(1426-1446) that things were no better at Glasgow in his 
day.^ A simple prebend in a cathedral was regarded by 
most as an addition to income, practically involving no 
duties, and capable of being held, even without a special 
papal dispensation, together with one or more benefices 
in other places. 

In 1455 the Abbat of Paisley, appointed by the Pope, 
made inquiry on oath into the state of things at Glasgow. 
As a result he declares that of the canons ' few or none ' 
made residence in person, and he considers that the reason 
was that the distribution of the 'communa' was too small 
to induce them to reside. The remedy that commended 
itself was to add to the ' common churches,' so that the 
distribution of the 'communa' and 'the capitular table' 
might have more to offisr. It would have been regarded 
as revolutionary to have demanded attendance on the score 
of receiving the income of the prebend. From this time 
forward it is plain that the interest of those who desired to 
benefit the cathedrals was directed rather to benefiting 
^ Reg. G/asg. ii. pp. 34 '-357- 


the position of the resident vicars, than to the creation of 
new prebends. The devout sentiment of the time also 
took the form of erecting chantries, in which no pay was 
given, except for the actual performance of the duties of 
the chantry-priest. 

In the Cathedral at Elgin the rule for docking the 
prebend of one-seventh^ in case of non-residence, was 
existent, at least in theory, from 1240.^ But the rule was 
not to apply to the bishop's prebend of Forres, doubtless 
for the reason that the bishop's duties called him to all 
parts of his diocese. And, for the same reason, only 
forty days' residence was required from the archdeacon, 
while the four principales personae were bound to give 
residence for at least half the year. 

At Elgin, in 1488, it was attempted to enforce 
residence. Several of the canons had for a long time 
neglected to give personal residence at the cathedral. 
They were duly warned, and a summons was served upon 
each personally. Nevertheless, no fewer than ten of them 
disregarded the warning ; they were declared contumacious, 
and it was resolved that the penalty of deducting a seventh 
from their prebends should be inflicted. The proceedings, 
which are detailed at length, all point to the conclusion 
that, as a matter of fact, neglect to reside had for some 
time past been condoned, or in practice overlooked.^ It 
would seem that the administrators of the statutes had 
themselves been lax, and very probably those, who ought 
to have seen to the due administration of the law, were 
themselves benefiting by its non-observance. 

A note of a visitation of the Chapter of Glasgow, made 
in February, 1501 (J 1 501-2), has been preserved. From 
it we find that the dean * does not make residence ' ; and 
the same observation is entered concerning eight of the 

But if the state of the cathedrals was unsatisfactory in 
Scotland, those who are acquainted with the history of the 
English cathedrals will, I am inclined to think, judge 

1 At Salisbury the fifth of the prebend was confiscated according to the 
new constitution (12 1 5). 

"^Reg. Morav. 105 ff. ^R.M. No. 209. 

'^Reg. Glasg. ii. 611-612. 


that the state of things in England was yet more 
discreditable. In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries the 
non-residence of the prebendaries had become the rule, and 
the chief officials of the cathedrals were frequently absent, 
and, when present, were often negligent of their duties.^ 

The Bishop a Canon in some Cathedrals. 

In some of the Scottish cathedrals (certainly in Caith- 
ness, Moray, Aberdeen, Brechin, and Ross), we find the 
bishop holding a canonry and prebend. This arrangement, 
though unusual, had parallels in the English cathedrals of 
Salisbury, Lincoln, Chichester, and Lichfield,^ and in the 
Welsh cathedral of St. David's. At Aberdeen the bishop 
had the Church of St. Nicholas, Aberdeen, as his prebend. 
This benefice was valued in the thirteenth century on 
' the old assessment ' {antiqua taxatio) at forty marks 
{£16 13s. 4d.). At Brechin, in the list of canonries in 
1372, we find no notice of the bishop's prebend. But in 
1435 ^^ fi"*^ ^^^ bishop required to pay ten marks of 
cope-tax ' because he is prebendary of Brechin.' ^ We 
find him also voting with the other members of the 
chapter at the election of a proctor, whose duties were to 
collect the revenues of ' the common churches.' 

At Elgin the bishop was a canon and prebendary of 
Fothernays (Forres).'* In choir he sat in the stall next 
but two from the dean. At Aberdeen, the bishop's 
choir-stall was also on the south side and separated from 
the dean by the intervening stall of the archdeacon. The 
Bishop of Ross was a canon and prebendary in his 
cathedral.^ In a deed, dated 1227, we find the subscrip- 

^ See the interesting account in Mr. Capes' excellent work, The English 
Church in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, chapter xii. 

^ ' At Chichester the bishop . . . was formerly required to be installed 
as a prebendary before enthronement.' Walcott, Cathednili, p. 33. 

^R.B. i. p. 6-j. See also pp. 87, 88. 

■* R.M. pp. 73,9+, 107, that is, of the lands of Forres {Ibid. 361) ; for 
the church of Forres was part of the prebend of the succcntor {Ibid. 92). 

^Pope Alexander IV. writing to the bishop in 1255 says: 'Quern 
(episcopum) voluisti in Canonicorum ejusdem ccclesic numcrocomputari.' 
Theiner, p. 69. 


tlon, 'Robert, Bishop of Ross and Canon.' ^ In 1255, if 
not earlier, his prebend was all the tithes of the churches 
of Niger (?Nigg) and Tharbent (PTarbat).^ 

A charter, dated 1243, preserved in the Register of the 
Priory of St. Andrews (p. 305), is subscribed by Ralph 
de Lambley, as ' episcopus et canonicus Aberdonensis.' 
Similarly, we find in the same Register (p. 327), Andrew 
de Moravia, Bishop of Moray, subscribing a deed in 1235 
in the form, ' Ego Andreas, canonicus et episcopus sub- 
scribo.' In like manner the Bishop of Caithness (according 
to the foundation of Bishop Gilbert, c. 1225) was a canon 
of the Cathedral at Dornoch.^ 

Though, as a member of the chapter, the bishop was of 
inferior rank to the dean and to the three other principaks 
personae, his spiritual pre-eminence was clearly recognised. 
Even in the signature of deeds, charters, and such like 
documents, the bishop, as in the cases just referred to, 
subscribes before the dean. And in the services of the 
Church the customary reverences, or bowing of the head, 
made to the dean in the absence of the bishop, are trans- 
ferred to the bishop when he is present. Similarly, in the 
saying of the services of the canonical hours in the 
cathedral, the confaeor at prime and compline, and the 
benedictions given at the reading of the lessons were said 
by the dean only in the absence of the bishop. Again, the 
statutes of the cathedrals are always enacted and promul- 
gated by the bishop with the advice and consent of the 
dean and chapter. The position of the bishop in these 
five cathedrals was certainly anomalous, and did not com- 
mend itself generally. But it was not without certain 
advantages. The bishop would thus have an opportunity 
of being present at, and taking part in the deliberations of 
his council. He would certainly be more in touch with 
the leading clergy of his diocese than was possible when he 
only received resolutions or decisions at which the chapter 
had arrived. It is not improbable, though I am not aware 

^R.U. p. 82. 

^Theiner, No. clxxxii. At one time, however, Tarbat was in the 
patronage of Feme Abbey. 

2 See Origines Paroch'taks, 11. ii. 601. 



that we have any positive evidence on the subject, that (as 
was true in similar cases in England) the bishop would 
retire from the meeting of the chapter when any question 
arose concerning the relations of the chapter to the bishop. 
The canons, however, may have well imagined that the 
presence of the bishop put them under a certain restraint, 
and interfered with the freedom of debate. It is observable 
that at Glasgow, where the statutes and customs of 
Salisbury were to a large extent adopted, the Salisbury 
arrangement, which gave the bishop a canonry, with its 
accompanying right to a seat in chapter, was not followed. 
In 1258 the Bishop of Glasgow ' gives and concedes to cur 
Canons the liberties and customs of the Church of Salis- 
bury.' But the canons, in accepting this concession, 
interpreted it to mean, ' all the liberties and customs which 
we may see to be expedient and advantageous to us.'^ 
It is possible, however, that this feature of the constitution 
of Salisbury was not known to the Glasgow chapter. 
Certainly in the letter written the following year (1257) 
by the dean and chapter of Salisbury to the dean and 
chapter of Glasgow in reply to enquiries as to the con- 
stitution of Salisbury, there is no mention of the fact of 
the bishop being a canon.^ 

At Elgin the Bishop of Moray had for his choir-vicar 
the canon who held the prebend of Croyn.^ And in a 
like spirit the dean was not required to appoint any 
choir-vicar, as the canon who held the subdeanery was 
regarded as fulfilling a vicar's duty.* Though the sub- 
dean was himself bound to keep residence under strict 
regulations, he was, like most of the other canons, required 
to furnish a choir-vicar. 

The Meetings of the Chapter. 

The control and management of the common property 
of the cathedral was in the hands of the corporation, or 
collegium camnicorum, that is, the chapter. Every member 
of the chapter had a personal interest in the finance of 

^ R.G. i. 166-167. ^IbU. 169. 

^R.M. pp. 107, 108. ^Ib'td. 


the corporation ; and every member was entitled to express 
his opinion on all questions as to the disposal of the lands, 
and other revenues of the cathedral. Hence the meetings 
of the chapter were convened with much attention to 
certain formalities, intended to secure due notice to all 

The most important chapter in the year at Glasgow 
was that held at the season of Whitsunday. It was 
appointed in a statute of the year 1266 that every canon 
was bound to be present, and that, for this meeting of 
chapter, no citation was necessary. The canons were 
required to assemble at Glasgow on the eve of Whitsunday 
(in vigilia Pentecostes), and to remain for three days, at 
least, to treat of the affairs of the cathedral. At this general 
chapter the distribution of the communa, in proportion to 
the length of the residence of each, was made to the 
canons. It was further ordained that, unless under the 
pressure of some unexpected emergency, this chapter was 
to be the time when the common seal of the chapter 
was to be affixed to all documents. The chapter seal was 
guarded with jealous care ; it was kept secure under triple 
locks, the keys of which were in the custody of the dean 
and two canons. And at no time was the seal to be used 
but on a resolution of the dean and a majority of the 

In the case of other meetings of the chapter for the 
transaction of important business, every canon had to be 
cited with due formality for forty days before the date 
fixed for the meeting. This was done by citing the canon 
at his stall in the choir. The frequent non-residence of 
the canons was provided for, at Aberdeen, by requiring 
each canon to appoint a procurator from among his 
fellows, who would look after his interests in his absence. 
As his vicar of the choir acted as substitute of the absent 
canon in regard of the services of the Church, so his 
procurator was authorised to act for him in the business 
transactions of the chapter. As might be expected, we 
find that the procurator selected was commonly one of the 
four dignitaries, whose residence could be more probably 
counted on than that of the other canons. At Aberdeen, 

^R.G. i, 174. 


in 1448, it was enacted that if a canon did not appoint a 
procurator he was not to be admitted to the choir or the 
chapter house; and if a procurator was not appointed 
within three months the canon was to be mulcted of the 
third part of his prebend for that year; half of the fine 
was to go to the ' fabric,' and half to the resident canons. 

If the canon continued to neglect the statute, and failed 
to appoint a procurator, he was, without process of law, 
deprived of the whole fruits of his prebend till he made 
the appointment, and was reconciled after his contumacy. 

It was an obligation on a procurator to be responsible 
to his canon's vicar-choral for his fee i^feudum') or salary, 
and for his ' habit,' that is, surplice, black, cope, and amess. 

At Elgin, about 1488, similar stringent regulations 
were adopted for securing the appointment of procurators.^ 
And it is obvious that if the business of the chapter, to be 
effective, required a majority of the votes of all the 
canons, absenteeism could paralyse the action ot the 
chapter. The subscription of acts of chapter by proctors 
on behalf of absent members is not uncommon. 

The weekly chapter, commonly held on Saturday,^ was 
mainly for disciplinary purposes. Irregularities in the 
conduct of the canons and choir-vicars were liable to 
review and censure ; and defects and neglect in the per- 
formance of the service of the church were noted, and 
punished sometimes by a fine. At Aberdeen the fines ot 
the choir-vicars, for not being in tune, are specified.^ If 
a choir-boy was absent he was to be whipped {ciisciplinetur^ 
for the first and second offence, and expelled for the third. 
At Elgin the vicars-choral were, in some cases, liable to the 
scourge to be applied to them by the subdean as they lay 
prostrate^ in the chapter house. In other cases, as when any 
of them was absent from matins or high -mass on ordinary 
week days, he was required to sing a whole psalter-' before 
he received his allowance of food. For a like oftence on 
certain feast days, a whipping was to be added to the 

^ Reg. Morav. p. 266. 

^ Rfg. Aberdon. ii. 64; Reg. Guug. ii. 612. '^ lvi,L 62. 

•• Perh.ips rather kneeling, a sense in which prostratus is often used. 
5* Ps.iltcrium ' is sometimes used for the Seven Penitential l-'salms. 


singing of the psalter. The canons who drew up the 
statutes were careful to exempt themselves from corporal 

It is, perhaps, deserving some words of comment that 
we find James II. as a canon of Glasgow in 1450,- and 
that James IV. is found, when in his seventeenth year, to 
be a canon of the same cathedral. In a charter, dated 
1489, 'in the second year of our reign,' confirming the 
privileges and liberties of the Church of Glasgow, the king 
declares his special devotion towards ' the blessed con- 
fessor, St. Kentigern, patron of the Church of Glasgow, in 
which we are a canon.' The distinction of a canonry 
being conferred on some youth of a noble, or royal house, 
was not very uncommon on the Continent. But it was 
little more than a canonry in name. A vote in chapter 
was not allowed in such cases. Sometimes the holder ot 
the canonry was admitted to minor orders. Sometimes, 
the distinction being purely honorary, laymen of rank 
held canonries in various cathedrals. The King of 
France was a canon of Poictiers, Chalons, Sens, Anjou, 
and Tours. The King of Spain was a canon of Burgos, 
and Leon. The Emperor was a canon of Aix-la-Chapelle, 
Strasburg, Liege, Bamberg, Cologne, Utrecht, and Spires. 
In the case of monarchs holding canonries, some divines 
maintained that the unction received at their coronation 
conveyed a kind of sacerdotium ; but this theory seems to 
have been an afterthought intended to satisfy scruples.^ 
It is certain that sometimes canonries were held, de facto, 
by persons who had not been admitted to the priesthood 
or the order in the ministry required by deed founding 
his canonry ; and we possess an ordinance of the chapter 
of Moray that such persons should not participate in the 
communal Indeed, as is well known, the Pope often 

^ Reg. Morav. 1 04. 

'R.G. ii. 375. There is a charter of James III. (1475) in which he 
speaks of his ' singular devotion to Blessed Kentigern and his mother 
St. Teneu [St. Enoch] and towards the said Cathedral Church,' but he 
does not claim to be a canon. Ibid. 426. 

^The monarch of England is to this day ex officio a canon of St. 
David's Cathedral. 

^ Reg. Morav. p. 269. 


conferred canonries on mere children, who, however, did 
not share in the communa and were disqualified from 
voting at the election of the bishop.-' In the visitation of 
Glasgow, in 1502, we find noted after the prebend of 
* First Glasgow' the words 'juvenis est.' ^ 

Discipline : the relations of Bishop and Dean. 

It was the customary rule ">f the cathedral foundations 
that the government and exercise of discipline over the 
canons, vicars, clerks, and other officials of the cathedral 
should be exercised by the dean. To him the canons on 
their admission promised obedience, and even the arch- 
deacon, who, as the bishop's officer, and not bound to 
residence, occupied a rather peculiar position, was, at 
Aberdeen in 1256, required to conform to the general 
rule. 3 

In the case of a chapter consisting of religious, like 
that of St. Andrews, it would seem that the archdeacons 
did not, till a very late period, stand related to the chapter 
by the obligations customary in cathedrals of which the 
chapters consisted of seculars. For we find Bishop 
Kennedy (1440-1466), with the assent of the chapter of 
his cathedral, ordaining that the archdeacons and also the 
chancellor, who appears to have been then a newly-created 
functionary in that diocese, shall hereafter always at their 
installation take an oath in the presence of the prior and 
convent that they will observe the rights, privileges, 
liberties and laudable customs of the Church of St. Andrews 
and the Order of the Canons Regular of St. Augustine, so 
far as they were affected by them,^ In cathedrals of 
secular foundation the dean, always acting as the official 
of the whole chapter, administered the discipline of the 
establishment. The canons were jealous of the inter- 
ference of the bishop in such matters. And in the 
Cathedral of Moray they seem on one occasion to have 
objected to the bishop attempting to deal with discipline, 
not only in the cathedral itself, but even with reference to 
the parish churches that formed the prebends of the 

^ See Sext. Decret. lii. i. tit. vi. c. 32. "^ ^eg. Ghsg. ii. 611. 

^R.A. ii. p. 43. ^ Rig- Prior. S. And. p. 425. 


canons. The contest was so sharp that the matter was 
appealed to the ApostoHc See. The Pope remitted the 
investigation and termination of the dispute to the Bishop 
of Brechin and his archdeacon. In 1260 the judges- 
delegate gave their decision. The Bishop of Moray 
declared that by the common law of the church he was 
bound to correct excesses when they came to his know- 
ledge, ' lest the blood of offenders might be required at 
his hands,' and this contention was admitted by the judges. 
The bishop, they declared, was entitled to hold his visita- 
tion of both the cathedral and the prebendal churches. 
And in the case of offences of the canons and others at 
the cathedral, the bishop was entitled to fix a limit of 
time within which the dean was bound, under canonical 
censure, to rectify the faults complained of. Here, as in 
other cases, the dispute was complicated by considerations 
which touched the pockets of both parties. If the bishop 
was entitled to visit, was he entitled to demand procura- 
tions ? The judges again gave judgment in favour of the 

It must be admitted that the cathedral clergy of Moray 
had something to say on their own behalf. The foundation 
of Bishop Brice had been modelled on that of Lincoln, 
and in the constitution of the English cathedral it was 
provided that prebendal churches should be free from all 
episcopalia, a term in which procurations were included.^ 

It is easy to understand how, in a time when laxity of 
morals was not uncommon among even the dignitaries of 
the Church, there would be a strong desire on the part 
of the chapters to free themselves, as much as possible, 
from the inspection of the bishop. In the middle of the 
fifteenth century, John de Crannoch, an able and active 
prelate, had much trouble in enforcing an ordinance, 
though supported by a Bull from the Pope, for the 
payment of the cope-tax.^ A notarial instrument pre- 
served in the Register of Brechin ^ presents us with a 

^W.C. i. 742. ^Ibid. 537. 

2 Every canon on his admission was required to present a handsome 
cope to the cathedral vestry or (at a later time) to pay a sum of money 
■of equivalent value. 

^ Vol. i. pp. 121-5. 


curious picture of a scene in the chapter of Brechin 
in the year 1448. The relations of the bishop with 
some of the members of his chapter had been, to say 
the least, very unsatisfactory. The archdeacon had 
incurrred excommunication for laying violent hands on 
the bishop, and the bishop now called on the chapter 
to give effect to the excommunication. It is evident 
that the sentence had been hitherto made light of. The 
bishop then, in the face of the chapter, admonished the 
dean to remove his concubine from his house, and to 
avoid associating with her for the future, under the 
penalty of forty pounds of Scotch money. A glimpse 
like this of the actual state of affairs on this occasion, 
finding its place among the dry records of the business 
transactions of the chapter, makes us understand some 
of the reasons that probably stimulated the desire to be 
exempt, as far as possible, from episcopal supervision. 
But what shall be said when the guardians of morals 
are themselves suspected, or notorious evil livers ^ It 
was not long after this incident that the conduct of 
some occupying even the high dignity of bishops might 
well force one to ask, — 

'Quis custodict ipsos 
Custodes ? ' 

In the Cathedral of Ross, the dean's authority was 
more restricted, and in the exercise of discipline did not 
extend to the canons. It was expressly ordained that 
the faults {excessus) of the canons should be corrected 
by the bishop, and those of the vicars by the dean 
or his deputy. Even as regards the control ot the 
vicars, if the dean was negligent in correction the 
bishop could act, and there was an appeal to him from 
the dean.^ 

It should be remembered that, if the bishop had the 
right to investigate into the affairs of the cathedral and to 
visit its members with a view to exercising discipline, 
the chapter was entitled to send a monition to the 
bishop, 'as sons to a father,' if they were aware of 
culpable conduct on his part. There is a case on record 

1 Thcincr, p. 70. 


where the misconduct of a bishop took the form of 
assigning church possessions and goods to members of 
his own family without the consent of the chapter. The 
chapter forbade the entrance of the bishop into his own 
cathedral. He defied them, and performed service after 
the prohibition. An appeal was carried to Rome, and the 
result was that the action ot the chapter was sustained, and 
the bishop compelled to make restitution to the chapter.^ 

The prebends of the canons were ordinarily derived, 
as has already been stated, from the revenues of one or 
more parish churches ;- but occasionally we find the 
income of the canon drawn from other sources. At 
Brechin there was a canon known as the pensionary, 
who does not appear to have held a parish church, and 
whose income was perhaps derived from the rent of lands. 
Again, in the Cathedral of Moray there was a canon 
holding what was known as the ' One Hundred Shilling 
prebend' (C solidorum). He said masses for the souls 
of deceased bishops and canons ; and his prebend was a 
fixed charge on the altarage of St. Giles' Church in Elgin. 
Apparently he was not required to appoint a vicar of the 
choir.^ At Aberdeen the prebend of the chancellor seems 
to have originally been the tithe of the fishery of Pal- 
goueny (Balgowney), to which in 1256 was added, because 
ot its insufficiency, the church of Brass. In the same 
cathedral the canonry which took its name from Deer 
drew its prebend in the shape of a pension of twenty 
marks paid annually by the Abbat of Deer.* 

Our information with respect to the constitution of the 
two cathedrals with monastic chapters is very scanty. The 
internal regulations and arrangements of the priory at St. 
Andrews and of the monastery at Whitherne would be in 
accordance with the rule respectively of Austin canons and 
of Premonstratensians. Attention may here be called to 
the fact that the constitution of Dunblane was in 1235 on 
the verge of a change from a chapter of secular canons to 

^ See C.P.R. i. 522, 4 Kal. Dec. 1290. The Bishop was Robert, 
Bishop of Ross. 

2 In Moray there were several canonries, the prebends of which were 
each the free revenues of two or even three parish churches. 
3/?.M. p. 91. *See ^.y/. ii. pp. 39, 40. 


a chapter of canons regular. Theiner supplies us with a 
brief of Gregory IX., addressed to the Bishops of Glasgow 
and Dunkeld, recounting how the Bishop of Dunblane 
when at Rome had given a pitiable account of the con- 
dition of that bishopric and the cathedral church. The 
revenues of the see had become so reduced that the 
income was not more than sufficient to support the 
bishop for half the year, and the bishop had reported 
that the see had been vacant for nearly ten years because 
no fit person could be found to bear the burden. There 
was no college of canons. The church was unroofed, and 
the divine offices were celebrated in the desolate building 
by a certain country chaplain {capellanus ruralis). The 
Pope directs that one-fourth of the tithes of all the 
churches of the diocese should be assigned to the bishop, 
out of which, after a fitting part had been reserved for 
himself, he might apportion revenues to a dean and 
canons. If this could not be done without grave scandal 
the episcopal see was to be removed to the monastery of 
St. John of the canons regular in the same diocese. In 
that case an income for the bishop was to be provided 
from the fourth of the tithes of churches held by secular 
persons, and the canons regular were to be granted the 
right of electing the bishop when vacancies occurred. As 
the chapter of seculars is subsequently found here we may 
infer that the funds for the bishop, dean, and chapter were 
found to be forthcoming.^ And by the energy and zeal 
of the new bishop, Clement, a Dominican Friar, the 
•exquisitely beautiful building (lately restored) on the 
bank of the Allan Water was erected. 

The essential difference between the secular and the 
monastic canons was that while each of the former possessed 
his separate prebend and lived in a separate house, the 
latter lived in community and were provided for out of 
the common funds. Again, as the appointment of the 
secular canons was ordinarily in the hands ot the bishop, 
episcopal influence would naturally be greater both in 
the chapter and in the diocese generally than in the case 
of dioceses with monastic chapters. 

The monastery of St. John here referred to was that of the canons 
regular at Inchaffray. 


At St. Andrews a long succession of papal confirmations 
addressed to the prior and convent declares, 'It shall be 
lawful for you to place four, or three at the least, of your 
canons in your churches, of whom one shall be presented to 
the bishop of the diocese with the object of being granted 
the cure of souls.' ^ If I interpret this provision correctly 
(and I must acknowledge some hesitation as to what was 
intended by the words), it would seem that instead of 
sending to the churches in their patronage secular priests 
to serve the cures, either as chaplains or perpetual vicars, 
the canons of St. Andrews might, if they thought fit, 
present to the bishop one of their number who should 
be admitted to the pastoral charge of the parish, but in 
that case he was to live with three, or at least two, 
others of the canons, so as to preserve, one may con- 
jecture, something of the community life. This series 
of confirmations of possessions, rights and privileges 
extends from Lucius III. in 11 83 to Innocent IV. in 
1248. If this privilege was utilised by the canons of 
St. Andrews it is easy to picture the unusual feature 
of some country parish with its little group of canons 
regular settled down presumably in the manse. 

The free election of both prior and bishop was secured 
(as far as the Pope's authority could secure it) to the 
canons of the priory. 

The Secular Canons Houses of Residence. 

Information as to the arrangements for the building and 
assignment of the canons' houses, built always in proximity 
to the cathedral church, is scanty. In the earliest of the 
statutes of Aberdeen which have come down to us, — those 
enacted by Bishop Peter de Ramsay in 1256, — we find a 
house for each of the thirteen canons (including the bishop 
and the dean) already in existence. Each canon had a 
toft, croft, and suitable residence (honeslum edificiurn) within 
the bounds of the cathedral close {infra cepta claustri)} 
The gardens and crofts were of sufficient size to make it 
worth while to record that they were to be free of tithe. 

^Reg. Pr. St. Andr. pp. 6i, 65, 70, 75, 79, 101. 
'^ Regist. Aberdcn. ii. 41, 


At whose cost the houses were originally erected we are 
not informed. But it is most probable that each pre- 
bendary had to bear the expense of building in the close 
the house which was attached to his prebend. And 
perhaps some arrangement was made for distributing the 
cost over a succession of occupiers. At all events at 
Glasgow a device of this kind was adopted. In 1256 it 
was enjoined that every canon of Glasgow should have his 
own dwelling, but (differing here from Aberdeen) it was 
enacted that no dignity or prebend should have any 
particular house permanently annexed to it. On any 
canon resigning, or dying, the house he had occupied 
should be assigned by the bishop, with the advice ot the 
chapter, to the canon on whom he thought fit that it 
should be bestowed, on the condition that the new 
occupier should pay to the canon who had resigned, or to 
his assignees if he were dead, a certain moderate sum of 
money in proportion to the expense originally incurred in 
the building of the house. In like manner the new 
occupant was entitled to burden his successor in a part of 
the sum, that part to be determined by arbitration,^ 

In 1366 we find an enactment requiring the several 
canons at Aberdeen to make a sufficient enclosure of their 
houses and gardens in front and at the sides, and those 
who had ground {pared) at the back were bound to enclose 
it also." By the year 1448 both the houses and the 
boundary-walls of the gardens had fallen into disrepair, 
and it was enjoined upon the canons to put them into 
order within the space of a year, under a penalty of twenty 
shillings, a penalty which was to be doubled for every year 
of neglect. As each house and garden was separated trom 
the neighbouring house and garden the repair ot ' mutual 
walls' was a trouble then, as it still sometimes is in 
Scotland, but the difficulty was got over in an ingenious 
way, for the details of which the reader is referred to the 
Register of Aberdeen.^ 

There was no house of residence for the prebendary 
of Methlach in the year 1376. But, the holder of the 
prebend having expressed to the bishop a great desire to 
make personal residence at the cathedral if he could have 

^ Regisf. GLug. i. 179. "^ Regis t. Aberdon. ii. 58. Mi. 75-76. 


a suitable house, the bishop (Alexander de Kyninmund, 
the second of that name) granted a piece of land sufficient 
for a toft and croft, or garden, where a house might be 
erected.^ It seems that, in this case, there was no obliga- 
tion on the canon to build the house, and his making it 
over for the use of his successors was regarded as so great 
a boon that it was ordained that each of them, for all time 
coming, should pay ten shillings a year for the celebration 
of the anniversary of the canon who built the house. A 
similar grant of land on like conditions was made in the 
same year to the prebendary of Ellon.- 

At Elgin we find a chanonry, college, or cathedral close 
at an early date. In the second half of the thirteenth 
century a manse was added for the prebendary of DufFus. 
One, John Spalding, who at that time held the prebend, 
bought a piece of ground, and built thereon a manse within 
the chanonry. He made it over to his successors in the 
prebend on the condition that, at entrance, each of his 
successors should subscribe an oath to keep the house in 
good repair, and should pay annually to the chapter twenty 
shillings sterling for distribution among the ecclesiastics 
who were present at his (Spalding's) anniversary.^ In this 
case, as in the two cases at Aberdeen, the gift of the house 
formed a kind of endowment 'pro anima sua.' 

It would seem that the destruction of the cathedral and 
the houses of the chanonry, by the Wolf of Badenoch, was 
not, at least so far as the residences of the canons were 

^ Regis t. Jberdon. i. 192-194. 

-i?('^. Abcrdon. i. 1 19-12 1. In 1462 we find the prebendary of Clatt 
granting to the vicars of the choir at Aberdeen an annual rent (redditus) 
of 13s. 4d., to be raised out of tvvo houses built 'super mansum tuum ' 
within the chanonry. This suggests that the prebendary had let the 
manse with this charge upon it. But we lack information which would 
•clear this point. The two houses were lately built by him 'super 
mansum suum.' Does this mean that he added a storey and built a 
house at the back? See Reg. Jberdon. i. 291. Compare what is said 
hereafter on letting houses at Elgin. 

An account of the chanonry of Aberdeen, and of the remains of the 
prebendal manses as they were in 1724, will be found in William 
Owen's Description of the Chanonry, Cathedral, and Kings College of Old 

^ Reg. Moraz: p. 145. Precise regulations are laid down as to the 
mode in which these twenty shillings were to be divided. 


affected, repaired for a very long time. Certainly the acts 
of the General Convocation ^ of the canons, as late as 1489, 
reveal a chanonry devoid of many of its manses. The 
convocation peremptorily ordered that thirteen prebend- 
aries, including the archdeacon and the succentor, should 
at once ' erect, construct, build, and duly repair their 
manses, and the enclosures of their gardens within the 
college of Moray,' while the remaining canons were ordered 
to repair all houses and enclosures that were defective. 
The performance of this order was enforced by fines, 
increasing in extent on delay, and enforcible by sequestration 
of their prebends. This incident, though very late in the 
history of the Cathedral of Moray, is mentioned here as 
clearly pointing to the existence of an obligation on the 
prebendaries of Moray to build their residences in the 
close, just as there was an obligation on the rectors and 
vicars of parishes to build a parochial manse. 

The same acts of the General Convocation forbid the 
prebendary letting his house to any but another canon, 
unless the proposed tenant has been judged by the dean 
and chapter to be a fit person to live within the college, 
and makes oath that he will be obedient to the dean and 
chapter : and, even with these precautions, the house is to 
be let for one year only. The boundary wall of the 
chanonry, or college, and its ' ports ' had to undergo con- 
siderable structural changes.^ 

A statute of the thirteenth century, applying to the 
manses of the parish clergy, enjoins that ' the utensils ' 
should be left in the house, when the manse passed from 
one incumbent to another.^ The same rule seems to 
have applied to the manses of the cathedral close. Both 
at Aberdeen and Elgin we find lists of the articles of 
furniture which were to be handed on from one canon to 
another. There is a close resemblance between the 
ordinances of the two cathedrals, though the inventories 
differ in some minor particulars. Among other things 
there was to be a good table on trestles, a basin and ewer, 

^This expression seems used to distinguish a ch.apter summoned 
\vitl> all the formalities from the ordinary Saturday chapter for discip- 
linary and administrative purposes. 

^Reg. Morav. p. 268. ^Stnt. Eccl. Scot. ii. 36. 


towels, one silver spoon, a drinking-cup or goblet, with a 
lid. In the bedroom there were to be the bed {le couche) 
with a tester, a pair of" linen sheets and two blankets. In 
the kitchen there were a brass pot, the chain which is 
called the ketilcruke, a pestle and mortar, and a variety of 
dishes. It would appear that the clergy brewed their own 
beer, for it is assumed that every house would have 
its brasina^ and its furniture in vats, barrels, etc, ; and 
the apparatus for brewing is specified with considerable 

The Building and Upkeep of the Fabrics. 

We possess but little light as to the sources from which 
the cost of the beautiful and sometimes splendid structures 
of our cathedral churches was defrayed. In some cases 
there is evidence that individual bishops expended large 
sums on this object from the revenues of their sees.^ The 
architectural designs were commonly planned on a great 
scale ; while many years, and in some cases even centuries, 
intervened between the inception and the completion of 
the work. In many instances parish churches, that is, the 
free revenues after the payment of a vicar, were granted 
' ad fabricam.' Thus the Church of Forgrund in Fife, 
with its chapel of Adnathan, was granted by Sir Alan de 
Lascelles ad fabricam in perpetmim sustinendam of the 
cathedral at St. Andrews.^ Kings and great nobles often 
granted the right to take timber {nteremium) from their 
woods, and stone from their quarries. The offerings of 

^Reg. Aberd. ii. 85. Compare Reg. Morav. l6-j. It is also worth 
while to compare the rule as to the utensils (heirship goods) which were 
to be passed on in the case of a civilian inheriting a house, as will be 
found in the Leges 'Burgorum {Acts of Parliament of Scotland, i. p. 44). 
The three documents have several points of resemblance. 

^ See, for example, the instance of * magnifica llberalitas ' of the Bishop 
of Aberdeen in 1 366, which called forth a grant from the canons of 60 lib. 
a year for ten years towards the completion of the cathedral. Reg^ 
Aberd. ii. pp. 59-60. The building or restoration of Dunkeld 
Cathedral was largely due to the munificence of individual bishops ; 
Robert de Cardny deserving special mention. See Myln's Vitae Eccl. 
Dunkelden. Episc. 

^ Reg. Priorat. S. Andree, 174. 


the faithful were sought ; and sometimes these were 
stimulated by the grants of indulgences from Rome. 
Thus, when towards the close of the fourteenth century, 
the nave of the Cathedral of Aberdeen showed the 
imperfection ot the mason-work, and had to be com- 
pletely rebuilt, Clement VII. (anti-Pope) granted large 
indulgences to those who, being penitent and confessed, 
would lend helping hands (^manu5 adiutrices) to the work 
of restoration.^ 

Collections for the building of a great cathedral were 
not necessarily confined to the parishes of the diocese of 
which it was the mother church. Thus, in the thirteenth 
century, there was a synodal statute of the diocese of 
Aberdeen directing that on every Sunday from the be- 
ginning of Lent to the first Sunday after Easter, that is, 
tor eight Sundays, the building of Glasgow Cathedral 
should be brought before the people of every parish in 
the diocese of Aberdeen immediately after the gospel at 
mass, together with a statement of the indulgence granted 
to contributors to that great work.- And no other collec- 
tions for charitable objects were to be permitted in the 
churches during the time specified.^ Indeed, if I interpret 
the statute correctly, it would seem that money bequeathed 
(indefinitely) for pious objects, and the goods of persons 
dying intestate in the diocese of Aberdeen were, at the 
period when the statute was promulgated, made over to 
the building of Glasgow Cathedral. 

The great year of the jubilee under Nicholas V. (1450) 
was by the favour of the Pope made serviceable to the 
Cathedral of Glasgow. Its advantages might be had by 
those unable to visit the Holy City if, penitent and con- 
fessed, they visited the Cathedral of Glasgow and offered a 
SL'm equal to one-fourth of the cost of a journey to Rome.'* 

^ In some cases an indulgence of seven years and seven quadragenac of 
enjoined penance. See the bull of 1379 in Reg. Aberd. i. 133. 
Two years later the same pope granted four years and four quadragenae 
to those who would visit and give alms to the fabric of the Church of 
St. Andrews. Cal. Pap. Reg. (Petit.) i. 244. 

-S.E.S. ii. 25. ^Ihid. 

'Reg. G/nsg. ii. 380-383. 


Written about 1480, shelving a fg^n-c of St. Ternan 
Size of page, 11 inches iy 7! inches. 


One-third of the offerings went to the reparation of the 

After the wanton and disgraceful destruction (1390) of 
the cathedral and of eighteen manses of the canons at 
Elgin by Alexander, Earl of Buchan, ' the Wolf of 
Badenoch,' the bishop, broken down by old age and 
sorrow, appealed in vain to the king (Robert III.), on the 
occasion of his coronation, for redress. Shortly after he 
addressed to the king a dignified and pathetic letter 
supplicating that the malefactors and incendiaries might 
be compelled to rebuild the ruined fane, the ' gloria regni 
et delectatio extraneorum.' ^ The king was, perhaps, 
powerless to cope with his savage brother. But the 
Church took action. The principal culprit was excom- 
municated, and absolved only on the condition that he 
would make satisfaction to the Church of Moray. There 
do not appear to be any records of the nature of the 
satisfaction made. There was probably little done by the 
earl who died in 1394. It is certain that in 1400 the 
bishop and the chapter were in great straits for funds to 
restore the burned cathedral. And an unusual expedient 
was adopted, based on provisions of the general Canon 
Law. The bishop called for a subsidy from the parish 
churches of the diocese which were not prebends or 
otherwise connected with the cathedral. It is certain that 
this demand was resisted, for we possess a letter of the 
bishop (dated 20 August, 1400) pointing out to the 
rector of Abirchirder that there were arrears for three 
years of what was technically called a suhsidium caritativum^ 
but which was in reality to be held as a debt, enforcible 
by sequestration of the fruits of the benefice. This sub- 
sidy was to be an annual moderate payment from the 
revenues of the parishes. At best it could have brought 
in very little.^ Fourteen years later the need of funds 
for the work of restoration was still pressing, and the 
chapter adopted a rather questionable course. The see 
being now vacant and the canons assembled to elect a new 

1 One-third was to be given for the reparation of other churches and 
sacred places in the realm of Scotland, and one-third was to be sent to 
Rome for the basilicas and other churches of the city. 

'^Reg. Morav. p. 204. ^Reg. Morav. p. 213. 



bishop, an oath was demanded from all the canons present 
that if any of them was elected to the bishopric he 
would grant one third of the whole revenues of the see, 
year by year, until the work of restoration was completed. 
Whether this agreement could be rightly regarded as a 
simoniacal contract one need not stop to enquire. As it 
turned out, one of the canons who had made the promise 
was elected.^ 

We possess an indication of another source of money 
for the restoration of the Cathedral at St. Andrews, which 
had been destroyed by fire. In 138 1 Clement VII. 
granted to the bishop and chapter a year's first fruits of 
all benefices falling vacant in the diocese during the next 
ten years, a fitting portion of the income being reserved 
for the clergy who would serve the parishes.^ But, after 
all has been said, the wonder remains. Where did the 
money come from for the building of these noble piles ^ 

The Upkeep of the Ornamenta of the Cathedrals. 

Any discussion of the inventories of the plate and 
vestments of the Scottish cathedral establishments belongs 
to the province of the ecclesiastical antiquary, and can find 
no place in these pages. But it is necessary to notice the 
ordinance common to all our cathedrals, or at least all ot 
those whose statutes have survived, known as the cope- 
tax. It was enjoined that every canon, on his admission, 
should give to the cathedral a cope of silk, or of cloth ot 
gold.^ This afterwards came to be commuted to a certain 
money payment proportioned to the value of his prebend. 
From time to time we have indications that the rule was 
not consistently enforced ; and then we find attempts at 
its revival, sometimes under penalty of sequestration of 
the fruits of the prebend. There were variations in detail, 
which need not occupy us. It is only necessary to say 

^ Possibly the doubtfulness of the canonical character of this pro- 
ceeding induced the canons to meet on this occasion *in quadam camera 
secreta in campanili ecclcsie Moraviensis.' Reg. Morav. p. 217. 

2 C.P.R. iv. 24+. 

^The copes were used in processions, and at certain parts of the mass, 
on great occasions. See Frere's Use of Saruw, p. 24. 


Written about 1480, showing a figure 0/ St. Tcrnan 
Size of page 152 inches by loj inches. 


that after the tax was commuted to a payment in money 
the proceeds were expended in some cases not only on 
copes but in the purchase of chasubles, dalmatics, and 
other costly vesture for the celebration of the mass. The 
rule is referred to here as being an appreciable burden on 
the prebend.^ The Scottish practice as to canons pre- 
senting copes to their cathedrals was the common practice 
in cathedrals south of the Tweed. The jocalia, a term 
including all kinds of church-plate, often of great value, 
seem to have been commonly the free gifts of ecclesiastical 
or lay benefactors. 

At Aberdeen, in 1366, it was determined by the chapter 
that various fines inflicted upon the canons for dis- 
obedience to certain statutes should go to the maintaining 
* the books, vestments and ether necessaries of the 

Cathedral Libraries. 

Until the foundation of the Universities of St. Andrews 
(1410), Glasgow (1450) and Aberdeen (1495), ^^^^ 
erected after the manner of the time, under the authority 
of Papal Bulls, such learning as Scotland possessed had its 
homes in the cathedrals and monasteries. Presumably 
each of the Scottish cathedrals had its library. That such 
was the case at Glasgow and Aberdeen we have positive 
evidence. The registers of each of these cathedrals 
contain catalogues of the books, and supply us with 
glimpses of what may be regarded as some of the library 
regulations. The inventory of books at Glasgow, in 
1432, first records the service-books in use in the 
cathedral. These are, of course, of the usual kind. There 
were ten missals (some of them * noted,' i.e. exhibiting the 
music to be sung) for use at the great altar and the altars 
of the side-chapels. Some of these were by the donors 
assigned for the use of certain specified altars. There was 
an Epistolar with the addition of the liturgical Gospels. 
Two large volumes contained the Old Testament. There 

^ For the rules of the cope-tax see Reg. Brechin, i. 66-68 ; Reg. Morav. 
264 ; Reg. Ghisg. i. 298, ii. 344. ; Reg. Aberd. ii. 70-71. 

"^Reg. Aberd. ii. 58. 


were two books of the Legenda Sancto7'Ufn. There were 
seven Breviaries, or Portifories, of which two were out on 
loan. There were five Psalters, six Graduals (four others 
were missing), seven Antiphonaries, five Processionals, of 
which one was in the hands of the binder, one Collec- 
tarium, one Ordinal, one Golden Legend, one volume of 
the Epistles of St. Paul, two Pontificals, each in two 
volumes. There was, besides, a Life of St, Kentigern and 
St. Serf, and — an unusual feature — there was, chained 
near the great altar, what seems to have been the great 
Latin Dictionary of John of Genoa known as the Catho- 
licon} Some of the office-books were assigned to the 
stalls of certain of the canons, and some were secured 
to them by a chain. In the case of the missals it would, 
of course, be possible to transfer some of them from one 
altar to another as the masses were said at various hours. 
But we are struck by the small number of books for the 
choir-services of the canonical hours, when we consider 
the large number of clergy who were required to attend. 
This points to the cost of producing such books, and falls 
in with the not uncommon regulation which required the 
vicars-choral to be able to say the service by heart. 

Passing from the inventory of the service-books we find 
that the other books belonging to the cathedral were kept 
partly in cases, of which some were placed in the nave ot 
the church, and partly in the library, where they were 
arranged on three shelves. The books described as illum- 
inated, — 'well illuminated' or 'illuminated in gold,' — 
were placed in the library, and from the rare notice that 
this or that particular volume was ' not chained ' we 
may safely infer that the rest were secured from abstrac- 
tion by the common device of attaching a chain to the 

In the cases outside the library there were some thirty 
volumes registered, beside ' numberless little books the 
names of which we do not know.' Within the library there 
were some seventy volumes. 

The first extant inventory of the books at Aberdeen 

1 Some remarks on these books will be found in a paper of mine in the 
Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scot/and (1898-9), vol. xxxiii. 
p. 322. 


was made at about the same time (1436), and shows us a 
somewhat larger collection. The Aberdeen library was 
particularly strong in treatises on the Canon Law. The 
contents of the two libraries presented many common 
features. The theology of the day, in the treatises of the 
great schoolmen, was largely in evidence. Aquinas, Duns 
Scotus, and other commentators on the Sentences, as 
might be expected, appeared frequently. Among the fathers 
we find Augustine, Jerome, Ambrose, Leo the Great, and 
Gregory the Great ; among later writers Isidore, Bede, 
Peter Damian, Anselm, Bernard of Clairvaux, and Bona- 
venture. There were, of course, copies of the Holy 
Scriptures, sometimes in complete volumes, sometimes in 
various parts with or without commentaries. The Con- 
cordance of the Bible (no doubt that of Cardinal Hugo de 
Sancto Caro) was present to help students, and there was 
Nicholas de Lyra to comment and explain. 

With the exception of Latin translations of Aristotle, 
the remains of pagan antiquity were few. There was a 
Valerius Maxim us at Glasgow, evidently a popular book 
in the middle ages, as we find that there were at least four- 
teen editions put into print before 1490. We also find at 
Glasgow ' a book that is called Methamorphoseos,' which 
one may perhaps conjecture to have been some part or the 
whole of Ovid's work. A volume which is described in 
the inventory as ' liber gay crispy et salustij ' was perhaps 
the Catiline or Jugurtha of Caius Crispus Sallustius.^ The 
forged correspondence between St. Paul and Seneca, which 
Bishop Lightfoot assigns to the fourth century, was a 
favourite book in the middle ages, and each of the two 
libraries contained a copy. There was a copy of the 
favourite work of Boethius, T)e Consolatione PhilosophiaCy 
with the Commentary of the English Dominican, Nicholas 

Both collections suffered from books having been ab- 
stracted. The notices are of such a kind as to show that 
there had been catalogues before the inspections, the 
results of which are recorded in the Registers. Precautions 

^ Against this, however, it is to be said that the book is said to be * in 
magno voluminc,' and that the opening words are ' summum bonum.'' 
But the volume may have contained other works. 


were evidently necessary, and at Glasgow we find Master 
Alexander Lawder allowed to borrow a ' Speculum 
Judiciale ' on condition of his leaving in pledge a copy of 
the ' Decretum ' of Gratian, and promising to return the 
borrowed book when called for by the chapter. It was 
at the time when the Glasgow inventory was drawn up 
that a statute was passed by the chapter enjoining that 
every year at the general chapter at Whitsuntide certain 
canons should be elected for the purpose of comparing the 
charters, muniments and books with the lists that had 
been drawn up. At Aberdeen we find a list of the books 
in the cathedral library in the year 1464, which, on being 
compared with the earlier catalogue, shows some additions. 
As before, Canon and Civil Law can claim the larger pro- 
portion of the volumes. And of the few books belonging 
to these libraries which were borrowed, all (with one ex- 
ception) are books on Canon Law. There can indeed be 
little reason for doubting that it was in the highly practical 
subject of the conduct and administration of law that the 
intellectual activity of the ablest of the Scottish ecclesiastics 
mainly exercised itself. Many of them had studied in the 
great schools on the Continent, and many of them bore the 
distinction of Bachelor or Doctor of Decreets, or of Civil 
Law. There were constant opportunities in the endless 
litigation of the church courts, and in conducting the 
appeals to Rome, for the remunerative display of wide 
knowledge and the subtlest ingenuity. 

The chancellor of the cathedral was the officer respon- 
sible for the safe custody of the books. 

The ' Annuale ' of the Canons. 

One of our thirteenth century statutes enacts ' that 
every priest, or clerk, passing to religion (that is, entering 
a monastery, taking monastic vows) shall have his annuale^ 
even as others who die in the Lord.' The annuale was one 
year's revenue of the benefice from the date of the death 
of the incumbent. Whoever entered into the monastic 
life was regarded as having died to the world ; and here it 
is declared that he should have the same privilege as those 
who had been cut off by death in the ordinary course. 


This privilege entitled a rector of a parish to offer as 
security for a debt, or to dispose by testament of, the 
fruits of his parish during his lifetime, and for one .year 
subsequent to his death.^ In 1161, Pope Alexander III. 
confirmed a statute of the chapter of Glasgow that the 
prebend of a canon deceased should, for a year after his 
death, go to pay his just debts, or be distributed among 
the poor. A little later (11 77) the chapter passed an 
ordinance allowing the canon to dispose by will, or to 
grant before death, his annual to whomsoever he chose.^ 

In the first half of the thirteenth century the chapter of 
Moray gave expression to their sense of the hardship that 
arose when one of their number gave up his prebend to 
accept a richer benefice out of which an annual was due. 
He received no revenue from the prebend which he had 
resigned, and for one year he derived nothing from the 
benefice to which he had been advanced. They state that 
sometimes, under these circumstances, the clergyman was 
compelled to burden himself with debt, or to be in actual 
want. They therefore passed a statute which permitted a 
canon of Moray to retain the whole fruits of his prebend 
until he was entitled to receive the fruits of the benefice 
to which he was promoted.^ 

It would seem, from the statute of the chapter of 
Moray above referred to, that, at least in some cases, an 
annual was allowed, not only in the event of death, or of 
going into religion, but even of resignation.* 

The general statute cited at the opening of this section 
certainly looks as if the provision applied to all persons 
holding benefices. Yet we need more information than 
we possess to adopt that conclusion as absolutely certain. 

^See S.E.S. ii. 15. Statuimus etiam quod ecclesiarum parochialium 
rectores seu vicarii easdem ecclesias sibi commissas nuUatenus obligare 
valeant, nee fructus earum ad ulteriora tempora vendere, aut quibuslibet 
modis alienare, nisi quatenus ad eosdem rectores pro se viventibus, aut 
suo annuali, poterint pertinere. 

•^R.G. i. 21, 40, 41. ^R.M. 97-98. 

^R.M. 97-9S. 'Ut quotienscunque hoc contigerit is qui ad bene- 
ficium aliquod vocatus fuerit, in quo ce^ear, vel decedens, vel ad religionem 
transiens annuale suum habuerit et optinuerit secundum approbatas con- 
suetudines in ecclesia Scoticana,' etc. 


If the rule applied to all there would perhaps be no need 
for the cathedral chapters to make a special rule to this 
effect applicable to the prebendaries. On the other hand, 
the chapter may have given expression to the rule as 
applicable to prebendaries ad majorem cautelam. 

The rule of the annuale^ as applicable to the prebendaries 
of the cathedrals of Moray and Glasgow, has its parallel in 
what was known In England as the annus defuncti. At the 
cathedrals of Hereford, York, Lincoln, Exeter, etc., not 
only the revenues of the prebend derivable from the 
benefice of a deceased canon, for a year and day from the 
day of his death, but also his share of the communia^ were 
paid to his executors for the payment of debts, and for 
pious uses pro anima ipsius. At Hereford, and perhaps 
elsewhere, the same rule held good for a canon entering a 


The rule, as applicable to the beneficed clergy generally, 
survived in a modified form in Scotland after the Refor- 
mation in the ' Ann ' or ' Annat.' ^ 

1 More, in detail, will be found in Bradshaw and Wordsworth's Lincoln 
Cathedral Statutes, i. 115; ii. 61, 88-89, 107. 

2 See Jet. Pari. Scot. viii. 73. [BhcVs Parochial Ecclesiastical Lau- of 
Scotland (igoi), pp. 218-25.] 




A FEW words must be said on the Collegiate Churches of 
Scotland. Churches known as ' collegiate ' were ecclesias- 
tical corporations constituted (with due ecclesiastical 
sanction) much after the manner of the cathedrals of secular 
canons. With two exceptions, Dunbar and Bothwell,they 
all are later than the year 1400 ; after which date they 
become numerous. The years between 1440 and 1460 
were particularly prolific in foundations of this kind, 
some thirteen or fourteen collegiate churches being 
erected in various parts of the country during those 
twenty years.^ Similar foundations were made from time 
to time till 1545, when Biggar, in Lanark, closed the 
series. In all, from 1342 to 1545, some forty collegiate 
churches were founded, of which two-thirds belong to 
the fifteenth century. 

It became a favourite expression of devotion on the 
part of great nobles, large land-owners, and sometimes, 
kings or members of the royal family, to endow specially 
some church for the maintenance of divine service 
on a scale of completeness and ceremonial dignity that 
would have been impossible in an ordinary parish church. 
Lands, or the free revenues of parish churches (the 
patronage of which was in their hands) would be conveyed 
by the founders for the support of the new found- 
ation. The clergy associated together would have, as in 

^ In 1471 an Act of Parliament, which forbade the annexation of 
benefices to bishoprics, abbeys and priories, expressly sanctioned the 
annexation when made to 'secular colleges.' J. P. s. ii. 99. 


the case of the cathedrals, each his separate prebend. 
The head of the collegium was ordinarily styled the pro- 
vost (j)repositus) ; and these foundations are commonly 
referred to in ecclesiastical documents as prepositurae. 
Occasionally, as in the case of Dunbar, Restalrig, and 
the Chapels Royal, the head was known as the dean.^ 
Under the provost or dean were a number of prebendaries 
known either as canons or chaplains. Their number 
varied with the wealth of the foundation. At St. Giles', 
Edinburgh, there were i6, including the sacrist and 
'minister of the choir' ; at Lincluden, 12 ; at Tain 
and at Crail, 1 1 ; at Crichton, 9 ; at Trinity College, 
Edinburgh, 8 ; at Yester, 7. At Roslin, Seton, Carn- 
wath, Kilmun, and Dumbarton, there were 6. At 
Corstorphine there were 5 ; at Maybole and at Semple 
there were 3. Sometimes, just as in the case of cathedrals, 
a new prebend would be granted by some benefactor, 
and the number of chaplains or canons increased. 

In a large number of cases two or more boy-choristers 
were to be maintained on the foundation ; ^ and in a 
few instances provision was also made for the support 
of a number of almsmen. ^ 

The provosts and prebendaries formed the corporations 
or chapters ; and each corporation had its common seal. 
A certain measure of rank and precedence was given 
to the members of collegiate churches. And one can 
scarcely doubt that the honours bestowed on Trinity 
College, in Edinburgh, on its erection into a collegiate 
church by Queen Mary of Gueldres in 1462* stirred the 
provost, bailies, and councillors of the city to petition 
the Pope, some three years later, for the elevation of 
their grand parish church of St. Giles to a similar rank. 

The then prevailing belief in the benefits of masses 

Un the case of Trinity College (founded in 1462) the Archbishop of 
St. Andrews in 1526 annexed to the college the parish church of 
Dunnottar for the support of two new prebendaries, one of whom was 
to take rank next below the provost and to be called the dean. 

2 At Tain there were three boys ; at Crail and at Biggar, four. 

3 At Lincluden, 24 ; at Trinity College, i 3 ; at Biggar, 6, etc. 

■* The Bishop of St. Andrews' confirmation of the foundation is 
dated ist April, 1462. 


said for the departed had for long stimulated the foun- 
dation of chantry chapels in the cathedrals and greater 
parish churches. The same sentiments now moved men 
to the foundation of the collegiate churches, where the souls 
of the founders (whose bodies were often buried in the 
church of their foundation) and of the members of their 
families were ordinarily, by the foundation charters, 
secured a large amount of such benefits as were believed 
to be attainable by frequent prayers and masses or other 
rites on their behalf. 

Trinity College Church, in Edinburgh, was specially 
founded for the weal of the souls of the royal family of 
Scotland. The royal foundress directed that her body 
should be interred in the church, and ordained that 
every day the priest who was appointed to celebrate 
mass, should at the close of mass proceed in his vest- 
ments to her tomb, sprinkle it with blessed water, and 
say the De profundis and certain prayers.^ And it 
was carefully provided that ' anniversaries ' should be 
duly celebrated for the queen and for her late husband. 
Similar injunctions are frequent in the charters of founders 
or benefactors of collegiate churches. Indeed, these 
collegiate churches may be regarded as dignified chantries 
for the souls of those who had founded and enriched 
them, with the addition that the saying of the canonical 
hours, collegialiter^ was also commonly prescribed. 

In some cases the patronage of the whole or of 
some of the offices and prebends was retained in the 
hands of the founder and his heirs and successors. 
The foundations in such cases enabled the family to 
appoint some of their own kin to places of dignity and 
emolument. This was so in the case of the collegiate 
church of Dunbar, where the patronage was retained by 
the Earls of March. In 1394 the Pope was petitioned 
on behalf of Columba de Dunbar, ' legitimate son ' 

^ See Charters relating to the City of Edinburgh, p. 1 06. The ' isopa ' 
mentioned in this passage was one of the names given to the aspcrgillum 
or * sprinkler,' and does not necessarily suggest that the herb, hyssop, was 
employed. This remark is made because the word is rendered ' hyssop ' 
by the editor oi Charters and other documents relating to the City n/Edinburghy 
1 143-1540, p. 106. 


of George, Earl of March, that he, aged fourteen, might 
be dispensed to hold a benefice without cure of souls. 
In 14 1 3 the earl petitions the Pope that Columba, 
who had studied ' for many years at Oxford,' may retain 
the deanery, canonry and prebend in this collegiate 
church.^ Dunbar had before this been held by members 
of the family. Waldeve, son of Earl Patrick, was rector of 
Dunbar in 1245.^ Other instances of the appointment of 
members of the family of the founder could be cited. 
But this glimpse is sufficient to show that if religious 
sentiment was the primary motive in suggesting such 
foundations, these establishments were sometimes utilised in 
making provision for younger sons. I cannot recollect any 
instance in our Scottish records of the Pope interfering 
with presentations that were in lay patronage. And in 
this respect the collegiate churches, where the patronage 
of lay founders had been reserved, served as centres of 
lay influence in the ecclesiastical world of Scotland. 

There was no uniform system for the constitution of 
collegiate churches, and the foundation-charters of each 
require a separate consideration. But the general 
principle holds good that those who contributed to the 
foundation had rights of patronage in the church. 
Thus, at St. Giles', Edinburgh, while the king retained 
the patronage of the provostship, having formerly had 
that of the parish church, the burgesses, who were 
generous benefactors, appear to have appointed to the 
other prebends. When the vicarage of Crail was con- 
verted into the prebend of the provost of the collegiate 
church in that town, the prioress and convent of Had- 
dington, who had formerly presented to the vicarage, 
now presented to the provostship. The principal tounder, 
William Myrton, who had endowed no less than seven 
chaplaincies, afterwards styled prebends, was to retain 
the patronage in his own hands during his life, while 
after his decease, it was to be made over to the extent 

1 Columba Dunbar was still dean in 1415, and petitioned the Pope 
for the addition of the hospital of Rothvcn (Rathven, in Banftshire). 
See C.P.R. (Petitions), i. pp. 601, 602, 610. Eventually Dunbar was 
appointed to the See of Moray. 

'^ C.P.R. (Letters), i. 214. 


of five out of the seven prebends to the bailies and 
community of the burgh, who had shown themselves 
obliging to Myrton in various ways, more especially by 
annexing the parish clerkship to the college. 

In most, if not all the collegiate churches provisions are 
found for continuous residence, and for the cultivation 
of what was then reckoned a high class of sacred music. 
Not only were the clergy to be versed in the Gregorian or 
plain song, but in some cases they were also to be learned 
' in discant and pricket-sang,' the harmony and counter- 
point of the day. At Crail there was to be a song-school 
for the instruction of scholars. 

The long inventory of the ornaynenta and vestments at 
the collegiate church of Crail exhibits a very handsome 
and costly supply.^ And, generally, it may be said that 
the collegiate churches aimed at, and in a measure attained 
a dignified and stately rendering of the services of divine 

The charters of erection sometimes exhibit a vivid 
consciousness of the common immorality of the lives of 
the clergy, and in them we find rigorous prohibitions 
which might in earlier times have been assumed rather 
than expressly stated.^ 

As in the case of cathedrals, so also in the case of most 
of the collegiate churches, residences were provided for 
the prebendaries. At Bothwell, the noble foundation 
(1398) of Archibald Douglas, Lord of Galloway, the 
houses of the prebendaries and of some vicars-choral 
remained up to 1795, and when they were swept away 

1 Register of Crail, pp. 63-66. 

2 What Roslyn would have been, had it been completed, we may infer 
from the costly and elaborate details of the choir which still remain. 

3 In the foundation charter of the prebend of the aisle of St. Mary 
the Virgin, at Crail, the prebendary is forbidden to cohabit with prosti- 
tutes or spend his nights with married women ; but if he kept a concu- 
bine he was, after being warned three times, to lose the prebend {Register 
of Crail, p. 33). For ordinances of a like tenor relating to the collegiate 
church of St. Giles, Edinburgh, see Laing's Charters of St. Giles, pp. i 13- 
227, and Appendix No. Ixxiv. Similarly, the prebendaries of Trinity 
College were to be deprived of their prebends if after three admonitions 
they retained a concubine or a focaria. See Charters relating to Trinity 
College Church, p. 24. 


their sites still retained the names of the ' prebends* 
yards ' and the * vicars' yards.' ^ The charters of other 
collegiate churches may also be referred to as pointing to 
the existence of residences {niansiones^ or mansa) as, for 
example, Kirk of Field,^ Restalrig,^ Corstorphine,'* Dal- 
keith,^ and Roslyn." It was in the manse of the Provost 
of Kirk of Field that Darnley, husband of Queen Mary, 
was lodged on the night of his murder ; but the buildings 
had been conveyed to the Provost and Magistrates of 
Edinburgh a few years earlier, on the triumph of the 

The histories of the cathedrals made it evident that the 
existence of residences for the prebendaries was no security 
that the prebendaries would reside. It was probably to 
protect her foundation from the evils which beset the 
cathedrals that Mary of Gueldres insisted that all the 
prebendaries of Trinity College ' should make personal 
residence, and by themselves and not by another, or 
others,' fulfil the obligations of their office. Fifteen days' 
absence was by the foundation-charter sufficient to render 
the office of provost or prebendary liable to become 
vacant, and after warning, a further absence of fifteen 
days was followed by deprivation ipso facto? 

^ Origines Parochiales, i. 54. The prebendaries or chaplains of 
Hamilton were similarly provided. Ibid. p. 106. 

- Charters of Collegiate Churches in Midlothian, p, xxxiv. 

^ Ibid. p. lix. ^Ibid. p. Ixvii. 

^ Ibid. p. Ixxxiv. ^ Ibid. p. xcvi, 

^ Charters relating to Trinity College Church, p. 25. 



I. Origin of Parishes. 

In the scanty ecclesiastical records preceding the twelfth 
century we have no very clear evidence for the existence 
of what afterwards came to be known as ' parishes/ 
Record evidence for parochial divisions begins early in 
the twelfth century, and becomes rapidly abundant. The 
church of Ednam, in the Merse, is commonly, and 
probably rightly, regarded as the first instance on record 
of the process of founding a parish church. An English- 
man, named Thor, had lands bestowed on him by King 
Edgar (1097-1107). He brought his lands into cultiva- 
tion, built a church, and with the sanction of the king 
endowed it with a ploughgate of land/ This exemplifies 
what was doubtless the origin of parish churches. A 
landowner, desirous of securing the ministrations of the 
Church for his family, and his tenants and serfs, would 
erect a building and grant some land, commonly a plough- 
gate, for the support of a priest. And here is the origin 
of lay patronage. In the northern parts of Scotland, e.g. 
in the dioceses of Aberdeen and Moray, we find examples 
of the parish church being dowered with land to the extent 
of what is designated a half davach. Scholars are uncertain 
as to what the equivalent to this measure is in terms of 

1 A ploughgate {carrucatn) was apparently an extent of land equal to 
104 acres. See E. W, Robertson's paper on Scottish Measurements in 
his Historical Essays, pp. 135, 136. It is to be noted that 104 Scotch 
acres were equal to 120 English acres. See Lawrie's Early Scottish 
Charters, p. 257. 


modern measurement.^ The grant of land was supple- 
mented by tithes, and thus the parish clergy came 
to be established. The Inquisition of David, Prince of 
Cumbria (afterwards King David L), which may be dated 
about 1116, leaves no doubt that there had been already, 
within the bounds of the ancient diocese of Glasgow, 
churches endowed with the customary ploughgate.^ After 
this the evidence becomes copious. It would be very rash 
to assume from our lack of clear evidence that there were 
no churches serving parochial purposes in the days of 
Malcolm Ceanmore or earlier. The Celtic monasteries 
had many offshoots, and little places of worship were 
scattered here and there. But I think that we are justified 
in believing that the parochial system^ — the division of the 
whole country into districts, each assigned to the charge 
of a priest, — is an outcome of Anglo-Norman influence in 
the early part of the twelfth century. 

In David's Inquisition the word ' parochia ' is used, in 
a sense once common, for the bishop's diocese — ' parochia 
Cumbrensis,' — and in this sense it still continued to be 
occasionally used in papal letters, bulls, etc. After that 
time it is ordinarily used in Scottish records in the 
modern sense of the word * parish.' ' 

The building of churches all over the country was, 
of course, a matter that could not be effected all at 
once. As late as the time of Pope Urban III. (i 185-87) 
there was a complaint of the scarcity of churches in the 
diocese of Glasgow, insomuch that children frequently 
died without baptism, and adults without confession and 
the viaticum.^ 

Mr. Cosmo Innes has pointed out that when a great 

1 For illustrations see the case of the parish of Abirnethy in Moray. 

2 ' In Pobles una carucata terre et ecclesia. In Treverquyrd una 
carucata et ecclesia. In Mcreboda una carucata et ecclesia.' Rcgist. 
Glasg. i. 7. 

^Ailred, in describing the work of St. Ninian, speaks of his dividing 
the country into parochia: {Fita S. Niniaiii, cap. vi.) ; but this I dismiss 
as merely an importing of the language of his own day into times long 
past. Conceivably Ailred meant dioceses ; but this would be equally 
remote from the truth of the case. 

* R.G. i. 61. 


Enamelled in pale blue and light green 

Found in Churchyard of Ceres, Fi/eshire. 


manor was subsequently split into several lordships, it 
was often found desirable that each should have its 
separate church. These new churches appear first as 
chapels of the mother church, but afterwards occasionally 
they obtain parochial rights.^ 

2. Rectors and Vicars. 

Our records make us familiar with two classes of parish 
clergymen, — rectors and vicars. Rector was the name 
given to the holder of a parochial benefice when he 
enjoyed the whole of the original endowment and all 
other rights of the parish. He was, as the name 
implies, the spiritual ruler of the parish church and of 
the people residing in his district. Another name by 
which the rector was known is 'parson' (^persona), which, 
when used correctly, was never applied to a vicar.^ 

The growth of the monastic orders and of cathedral 
corporations brought a new class of parish clergy into 
existence. It was a common thing for the founder,^ or 
the patron of a parish, to make over his rights to a 
monastery or to the chapter of a cathedral. The most 
frequent form of this transfer was the conveyance of 
the parish to the monks or canons in proprios usus, as 
it was styled, that is, the whole revenues of the parish 
were conveyed to the corporation on the condition that 
they would provide for the spiritual ministrations. 
Monasteries and cathedrals were subjected to the temp- 
tation of retaining the main bulk of the revenues of 
the parish for themselves, while supplying a clergyman 
for the service of the parish at as cheap a rate as 
possible. Occasionally, when the parish lay in the 
neighbourhood of the monastery, one of the monks 
would be told off to administer the sacraments and 

^ Or'tg. Paroch. 1. p. xxvli. 

2 I must not allow myself to be tempted into the discussion of the 
question, about which much has been written, as to how the term 
persona came to be used in this sense. 

3 The notice of the church of Ednam, referred to above, occurs in a 
deed of Thor's, conveying the church to the monks of Durham. 



rites of the church to the parishioners/ In other cases 
they were required to appoint a resident priest for the 
purpose. The corporation succeeded to the rights and 
emoluments of the rector, while the deputy who did 
the work was styled the ' vicar.' Thus it came to 
pass that endowments originally given for one purpose 
were to a surprisingly large extent diverted to a purpose 
totally different. 

In Scotland, in the twelfth century, the piety of kings 
and nobles took shape chiefly in the founding of 
monasteries. And on monasteries a large number of 
the parish churches were bestowed in even the earlier 
years of their histories. Thus, the foundation charter 
of the abbey of Lindores contains the grant of no 
less than ten parish churches, being, as the founder. 
Earl David, declares, all the churches he had in his 
gift in Scotland." As time went on the grants of 
additional churches were made to the monasteries, and 
eventually the proportion of parish churches appropriated 
to them and to the cathedrals was very large. It has 
been estimated that in the early part of the sixteenth 
century more than two-thirds of the parish churches of 
Scotland were in the hands of the monasteries. I have 
not attempted to verify in detail the accuracy of this 
estimate, but I am inclined to believe that, it we add 
the appropriate churches of the cathedrals and collegiate 
churches, perhaps not less than three-fourths of the 
churches were in the hands of ecclesiastical corporations. 
By the royal founder of the great abbey of Arbroath 
there were conferred no less than thirty-three parish 
churches. The abbey of Paisley in 1265, as we learn 
from Pope Clement IV. 's conlirmation, possessed twenty- 
nine. Holyrood had twenty-seven ; Kelso, thirty-seven ; 
and there was no considerable religious house in Scotland 
which was not possessed of parish churches in larger or 
smaller numbers. 

The practice of the appropriation of churches to the 

^ For example, Abdie, in which parish the abbey of Lindores was 
situated, and which belonged to the monastery, appears to have been 
served in this way. See The Chartulary 0/ Lindores Abbey, pp. lii-liii. 

- Chartulary of Lindores, pp. 3, 9. 


monasteries was attended by evils which roused the 
ecclesiastical authorities. The poorly paid vicar was 
very frequently illiterate. Pope Innocent III. com- 
plaining in 1216 of the miserably small allowance 
made to those who served the parishes in some places, 
declares that hence it has come to pass that where this 
practice prevails, * scarcely one parish priest can be 
found who has a moderate or even any knowledge of 
literature.' ^ In England, local synodical enactments 
attempted to put some restraint upon the action of 
patrons ; and the evil being felt in other parts of the 
Western Church as early as 11 79, the General Council 
of Lateran passed a canon (No. IX.) declaring that 
' For the future religious should not receive either 
churches or tithes from lay persons without the consent 
of the bishop of the diocese.' Thus, though the evil 
was already wide-spread, some slight check was put to 
its further growth. By the same canon the monastic 
communities were required to present priests to the 
bishops to be instituted to the parish churches in their 
possession. This latter provision was intended to prevent 
the practice of the monasteries delaying to supply a vicar 
so that the emoluments of the parish might, for as long 
as possible, be wholly absorbed by the house.^ In 1207 
Pope Innocent III. directed W[illiam Malvoisine], Bishop 
of St. Andrews, to put fit persons into churches belonging 
to religious who wilfully neglect to present to him chap- 
lains or clerks within the canonical limit of time after the 
occurrence of a vacancy.^ A little earlier Pope Lucius 
III. empowered Jocelin, Bishop of Glasgow, to fill up 
churches belonging to monasteries, if presentations were 
not made by the monastic patrons within three months 
from the occurrence of the vacancy.* Another bull of 
Lucius applies the rule to all patrons, who, if they did 
not present to the bishop fit persons for the benefices 
within three months, were for that occasion to lose the 

^ Unde fit ut in his regionibus pene nullus inveniatur sacerdos paro- 
cialis qui ullam vel modicam habeat peritiam literarum. 'Decretal, in. 
V. 30. 

- See Mansi's Labbe and Cossart, torn. xxii. 223. 

^ Calendar of Papal Registers, i. 29. '^ Reg. Glasg. i. 53. 


right of presenting. The bishop was to fill the benefice, 
and no appeal was allowed.^ 

Another manifestation of the grasping spirit ot the 
monasteries is to be found in their attempts to treat 
parish churches, of which they possessed only the patron- 
age, as if they had been made over to them in proprios 
usus. When patronage only was conferred on a monastery 
its rights were confined to presenting to the bishop a fit 
person, who, when instituted, was entitled to enjoy the 
entire revenue of the parish. But there is ample evidence 
that the monasteries often bargained with their presentees 
for an annual payment to be made to them by him. In 
1 1 99 the Pope issued a mandate to Roger de Beaumont, 
Bishop of St. Andrews, to restrain such practices.' 

As has been told, the monasteries and cathedrals were 
inclined to get the parochial work of their churches done 
as cheaplv as possible. And in the thirteenth century we 
find the Scottish Church making a serious effort to secure 
for the vicars of appropriate churches a decent mainten- 
ance. One of the Scottish Synods of that century (the 
exact date has not been ascertained) passed a statute 
entitled, 'That vicars should have a sufficient maintenance.' 
It ran as follows : ' Moreover, we enact that vicars should 
have a sufficient and decent {honestani) maintenance from 
the revenues of their churches, since they who serve the 
altar should live off the revenue of it and of the church, 
so that the vicar's portion, free of all burdens, should 
reach the value of at least ten marks [/.'6 13s. 4d.], if 
the capabilities of the church suffice for this : provided 
that in the cases of churches of large revenues {in pin- 
guiorihus ecclesiis) portions be assigned to the vicars 
according to the measure of the revenues of the churches 
and the burdens which attach to them.'^ 

^Reg. Glasg. i. 54. - Cd. Pap. Reg. i. 5. 

^ Statute Eccknae Scoi'icanae, ii. 12 ; Reg. Aberdon. ii. 8. Occasionally 
the alleged ground of the poverty of a monastic house was accepted by 
a bishop as sufficient excuse for his allowing a parish to be served by a 
chaplain (from the monastery) instead of by a vicar. Thus, in 1260, 
the parish of Alveth (Alva in Stirlingshire) was served by a chaplain 
(instead of a vicar), with the permission of the Bishop of Duni<eld, on 
account of the poverty of the abbey of Cambuskenncth, to which the 
parish was appropriated. Regist. de Cambusk. 24. 




























The vicar, when once he had been accepted and Instituted 
by the bishop, was irremovable by the rector, or the 
corporation possessing rectorial rights. Hence his title, 
in technical style, was ' perpetual vicar.' 

3. ^Ordinary Burdens' of Parishes : ^ Synodals' and 

It will be observed that the Scottish statute already 
cited enjoins that the vicar's portion should be at least 
ten marks ' free of all burdens.' What is here pointed 
to was the obligation of every parish to make certain 
payments annually to the bishop. These were known 
as ' synodals' and ' procurations.' The synodal {synodale 
or synodaticuni) was ordinarily a small annual payment, 
something of the nature of a feudal blench-duty, and 
little more than a recognition of superiority. As a re- 
cognition of the bishop's chair it was styled cathedradcum, 
a term frequent abroad, and occasionally used in Scotland.^ 
The more usual term ' synodal ' has been supposed to 
be derived from the payment being made on the occasion 
of the annual meeting of the synod of the diocese. 
The amount of the cathedraticum which the bishop was 
entitled to receive as ' honor cathedrae suae ' was fixed 
at two shillings by an ancient canon embodied in the 
Decretum of Gratian.^ And Honorius III., in 12 18, 
repeats that two shillings should be paid to the bishop 
' Synodatici seu Cathedratici nomine.' ^ So far as I 
am aware the only detailed list of the synodals paid in 
any Scottish diocese belongs to the diocese of Moray 
in the middle of the fourteenth century. There we 
find that two shillings is the usual payment, and is never 
exceeded except when two or more parishes are united. 

^ Pope Lucius III. (1181-1185) writing to Jocelin, Bishop of Glasgow, 
enjoins on beneficed clergy to pay to their bishop the cathedraticum. Reg. 
Glasg. i. 53. Again, when in 131 5, when Robert, Bishop of Glasgow, 
permitted the monastery of Melrose to have a baptismal church in Kyle, 
he stipulates that one merle should each year be paid to him ' in signum 
subjectionis et nomine cathedratici.' Lib. de Melros, ii, 370. 

- Pars II. caus. x. quaest. iii. § i. 

^T)ecret. Greg. IX. lib. i. tit. xxxi. cap. 16. 


In three cases, presumably of very poor parishes, the 
payment is only one shilling.^ The totals of the synodals 
in some of the deaneries of the diocese of Aberdeen, 
perhaps about 1275, are given in the Register of Aber- 
deen.^ In the deanery ot Aberdeen the total works out 
to exactly two shillings for each parish ; in the deaneries of 
Mar and Buchan it works out to slightly more than 
two shillings.^ In the case of the creation of a new 
baptismal church in Kyle, in 13 15, the Bishop of Glasgow, 
whether exceeding his legal rights or not, demanded a 
mark as cathedratkum to be paid ' at our chapter ot Ayr ' 
by half-yearly portions/ 

Among other accusations made to the Pope against 
Walter, Bishop of Glasgow, in 12 19, was the charge that 
he exacted four shillings from each church ' contra 
canonica instituta.'^ It is extremely interesting to find 
an explanation of this in the Register of Paisley, where, 
in 1220, though exacting the four shillings as synodals 
from the appropriate churches of the monastery, he con- 
tents himself with procurations in alternate years.*^ In 
this case, at least, the bishop was rather generous than 

' Procurations' due to the bishop were a much heavier 
burden. They consisted originally in the hospitable 
entertainment of the bishop and his attendant train when 
he came to make his visitation of the parish churches. 
In process of time this obligation was commuted tor a 
payment in money.^ The grievance, it can easily be 
imagined, was great. The Lateran Council of 1179 
had attempted to mitigate the burdensome character 
of this impost by limiting the bishop's retinue on his 
visitation tours to thirty horsemen. The Council of 

^Reg. Morav. pp. 364-365. -W. pp. 55» S^- 

^A glance .it the record will show that it would he unsafe to rely on 
the accuracy oi minutiae. 

^ Lib. de Melros, ii. 370. '' Theiner's Monumentay No. 29. 

• Reg. de Passe/et, 325. 

^ In a charter of William de Lambcrton, Bishop of St. .Andrews ( 1 297- 
1328) it would seem Jiospitality or money might form the pro- 
curation. He remits his procuration from Bathgate * in esculentis et 
poculcntis aut pecunia numerata.' Reg. de h<eubotle, p. 126. 


Westminster, in 1200, suggested the lower figure of 
twenty, in the phrase ' twenty or thirty.' In January, 
1394-95, Robert Sinclair, Bishop of Dunkeld, visited the 
church of Alveth (Alva) with a retinue of fifty-six horses 
{evectionibus) and was entertained at the abbey of Cambus- 
kenneth.^ And as late as October, 1470, we find an 
appeal to the Pope made by the Abbat of Arbroath 
against Patrick Graham, Bishop of St. Andrews, for 
bringing with him in his visitations a retinue beyond 
that allowed by law, sometimes one hundred, some- 
times two hundred horses.' Even a wealthy house 
like that of Arbroath might well complain. But even 
with the limitation of twenty or thirty the burden must 
have been heavy. The archdeacon was also entitled 
to procurations, and his deputy the dean of Christianity 
could, when visiting, make a similar claim. The Lateran 
Council, referred to above, limited the archdeacon's 
attendants to seven and the dean's to two. 

When, in 1201, John, Presbyter Cardinal of St. 
Stephen on the Caelian, visited Scotland as legate of 
the Pope, it was obvious that complaints were made as 
to the excessive procurations demanded by the Scottish 
bishops, for we possess a very forcible letter addressed 
to them on the subject by the Cardinal. Their 
retinue, it would seem, exceeded the number allowed 
by the Lateran Council. He ordered that the rule 
should be observed, and directed that churches with a 
revenue of less than 30 marks should be conjoined with 
other poorer churches in supplying a procuration.^ 

In 1227 we find the powerful monastery of Paisley 
making resistance to the Bishop of Glasgow on behalf 
of the parish churches which had been appropriated to 
it. The bishop and the abbey consented to submit the 
matter in dispute to arbitration. And it was finally 
agreed that the churches in Strathgrif (Renfrewshire) 
which belonged to Paisley should provide two hospitia^ 
that is, entertainment and lodging for the bishop on 
two occasions. Some of their other churches were re- 
quired to supply one hospitium each ; while in certain 

^Cambusk. No. 17. "^L'tb. de Aberbrothoc, ii. 164. 

^Lib. de Calchou, 341. 


other cases two parish churches were to combine to 
provide one hospitium. Three churches, presumably on 
account of poverty, were exempted altogether. The 
arbitrators declared that in all cases it was not the mon- 
astery but the vicars who were to be held responsible 
for the fulfilment of the obligation.^ 

Occasionally a bishop would, of favour, remit pro- 
curations. Thus, in 1240, Ralph, Bishop of Aberdeen, 
with a view of creating a further inducement to the canons 
to reside at the cathedral, quitclaims for himself and his 
successors procurations due to him from the ' common ' 
churches of the canons.- The communia would benefit to 
that extent. There were some six or seven such churches. 
Again, William Malvoisine, Bishop of St. Andrews (1202- 
1239), grants freedom from ' synodals, aids, and procur- 
ations ' to the church of Athin, one of the appropriate 
churches of the monastery of Arbroath. There is reason 
to believe that this was for a consideration.^ 

I am unable to say at what date the actual entertain- 
ment of the bishop was commuted to the payment of 
a sum of money. But it would seem to have been 
before 1275, at least in the diocese of Aberdeen, for we 
have a record of about that date exhibiting in pounds, 
shillings, and pence the procurations of the Bishop ot 
Aberdeen. The prevailing figure is two pounds : the 
highest (Kynkell) stands at ^^4 los. od., the lowest 
(Kyndrocht) is 6 shillings. The total of the procurations 
of the diocese is given as £11"] los. od., a very 
appreciable addition to the bishop's income, when the 
purchasing power of money at that date is taken into 

We have a detailed list of the procurations due to the 
Bishop of Moray in the middle of the fourteenth century. 
Each parish church paid £2, with two exceptions, where 
only ^i was demanded. A somewhat later list of 
procurations for Moray shows a few slight variations.* 

^ Reg. G/asg. 121. The arrangements as to the procurations of the 
appropriate churches of the monastery of Arbroath will be found in 
Reg. Vet. 116-118. 

'^Reg. Jberd. i. 15. ^ R^g- Vetus de Jberbrothoc, 105, 

^Reg. Morav. 363-366. 


What has been said will suffice to explain an expression 
occurring not infrequently in Scottish charters, where it is 
laid down whether the rector or vicar of a parish church 
is bound ' respondere in episcopalibus.' The phrase 
refers to the payment of the bishop's dues, consisting 
of the synodal and the procuration. 

' Procurations ' and ' synodals ' formed what were known 
as ' the ordinary burdens ' of a parish church. But 
there were occasions when a call might be made by a 
bishop for a ' subsidy ' or ' benevolence ' {caritativum 
subsidium), not unlike the casualty known as an ' aid ' 
{auxilium) claimed on certain occasions by feudal superiors 
from their vassals. A bishop, on his promotion, had 
heavy expenses to meet by reason, always, of his pay- 
ments to the Pope, the cardinals, and the officials of 
the Roman curia, and frequently, of the journey with 
his retinue to the ApostoHc See and his stay at Rome 
or Avignon. Hence a subsidy on such occasions was 
sometimes claimed from the parish churches. In a 
dispute (of uncertain date) between the monks of Lindores 
and the bishops of Aberdeen and Brechin, in whose 
dioceses the monks possessed certain appropriate churches, 
while certain claims of the bishops were resisted, it was 
admitted that the bishops might seek a subsidium carita- 
tivum from their parish churches.^ 

4. Division of Parochial Revenues between Rector and Vicar. 

The arrangements between rectors and vicars varied 
much as to the manner in which the vicar's portion was 
to be paid. The simplest method, though not historically 
the earliest, was for the rector or corporation to receive 
the whole revenue of the parish and pay to the vicar a 

1 Chartulary of Lindores. In the fifteenth century a ' subsidy ' was 
claimed, apparently by Bishop George Browne, on his promotion to 
Dunkeld in 1484, from the lands (as distinguished from the churches) 
held in his diocese by the monastery of Cupar, In their difficulty 
the monks of Cupar consulted their brethren of the monastery of 
Arbroath, and the reply of the latter is preserved. The rapacity of the 
bishop is indignantly censured in language discreetly expressed in 
general terms, and the monks of Arbroath declare that such an impost 
was unknown to them. Reg. Nigrum de Aberbroth. 242. 


iixed sum ot money, commonly called a pension. We 
find several examples of this mode of arrangement in 
the fourteenth century. Thus, in 1314, the Bishop of 
Aberdeen, with the consent of his chapter, made over 
his church of Alveth to the Cistercian monasterv of 
Cupar Angus in proprios usus} And it was stipulated 
that the church of Alveth should be served by a 
perpetual vicar, who, on the presentation of the abbat 
and convent, should receive the cure of souls from the 
Bishop of Aberdeen, and from the abbat and convent 
ten pounds sterling per annum^ with his toft, croft, and 
manse. But the vicar was to be responsible for the 
' ordinary burdens ' to the bishop and archdeacon. This 
would leave the vicar a little over the ten marks, which 
the Scottish statute of the preceding century had enjoined 
as the minimum payment to a vicar."-^ 

During the episcopate of the able and vigorous John 
Cameron, Bishop of Glasgow (142 6- 1446), six parish 
churches were granted by their respective patrons to the 
bishop to be erected into prebends for canonries in his 
cathedral. In all these cases the patrons reserved to 
themselves and their successors the right of presenting 
to the prebends, while the bishop was to have the right of 
appointing the perpetual vicars. He fixed their stipends 
in five cases at 20 marks (;^I3 6s. 8d.), and in one case 
at 15 marks (;^io). These fixed sums are spoken of 
as ' pensions ' and the term ' vicar pensionary ' is not 
infrequent at this date.^ 

In earlier days, and the usage continued in many instances 
to the end, the tithes were divided in different proportions 
between the rector and the vicar, the great tithes going 
to the rector and the lesser tithes to the vicar. This will 
be dealt with more fully when we come to consider the 
subject of tithes. We have only to add here that the 
arrangement as to the allowance of the vicar, when once 

^ The deed of gift sets forth that the resources of the monastery were 
exceedingly exhausted through the disasters of war. The monastery had 
already enjoyed the patronage of /\lveth. Rental-Book of Cupar Abbey, 
i. p. xvii. 

2 Reg. Abcrd. i. 41-43. 

3^.G. ii. 340. 


made with the approval of the bishop, could not lawfully 
be set aside without his concurrence. 

In some cases the vicar collected and received the tithes 
and other revenues of the parish, and the rector, or 
corporation in the case of appropriate churches, received 
from the vicar a fixed sum or ' pension.' ^ 

The one feature common to all arrangements was that 
the non-resident rector or corporation received the main 
bulk of the revenue, and the working parish priest the 
smaller part. A few concrete examples may be given. 
The proportion assigned respectively to the vicars and the 
Abbey of Lindores (having rectorial rights) out of the 
revenues of churches in Aberdeenshire has been exhibited 
by the writer in detail elsewhere.- It will suffice to take 
three examples. From Premnay the vicar had 2 lib. 13s. 4d. 
and the abbey 10 lib. 13s. 8d. ; from Insch the vicar had 
4 lib. and the abbey 14 lib. 13s. 4d. ; from Culsalmond 
the vicar had 4 lib. and the abbey 17 lib. 13s. 4d. 

The same truth comes out from the 'Taxaciones' of 
the diocese of Moray. I select in this case the first two of 
the prebendal churches, — Prebend of Petyne, 38 marks ; 
vicar, 4 marks : Abyrlour, 30 marks ; vicar, 3 marks. A 
few churches appropriated to monasteries may be added. 
Inverness (belonging to the abbey of Arbroath) 40 marks ; 
vicar, 20 marks : Coneway (belonging to the priory of 
Beaulieu), 24 marks ; vicar, 4 marks. 

Occasionally we find a bishop consenting to the appoint- 
ment of a monk to the vicarage of an appropriate church, 
so that the revenues both of the rector and vicar might go 
to the monastery. Thus, in 1242, David de Bernham, 
Bishop of St. Andrews, on acccount of the heavy weight of 
debt incurred by building operations at Dryburgh, allowed 
the monastery to present their own monks to the vicar- 
ages of their appropriate churches situated in his diocese, 

^ This was obviously a convenient arrangement when the body holding 
rectorial rights was at a distance from the parish. A good example is 
found in the case of Lindores Abbey possessing the parish church of 
Whissendene in the diocese of Lincoln, a grant made by the founder, 
David, Earl of Huntingdon. See Chartulary of Lindores Abbey, pp. 

2 Chartulary of the Abbey of Lindores, pp. xlvii-xlix. 


on condition that a secular priest should reside with the 
monk who held the vicarage to assist him in the duties 
which he (as possibly not in priest's orders) could not 
perform. As Bernham's object was to save expense to 
the monastery it is obvious that the secular priest's stipend 
would be smaller, probably much smaller, than what he 
would have received if he had been vicar.^ The monks of 
Kelso were similarly treated by Bishop David in 1251, and 
so far that the bishop did not require them to present a 
vicar, but only a ' decent chaplain ' to their church of 

An illustration may now be taken from the period on 
the verge of the Reformation. The church of Alveth in 
the diocese of Aberdeen and shire of Banff, which, as we 
have seen, was granted to the abbey of Cupar in the time 
of Robert L, was in the year 1542 let^ by the abbat and 
convent for the space of nineteen years to Sir Walter 
Ogilvy and Dame Alison Hume, his spouse, their heirs or 
assignees ; with the whole of the teinds, fruits, rents, 
offerings and emoluments of the parish church, ' baith 
personage and vicarage ' (i.e. all the profits of both rector 
and vicar) for the annual payment to the abbey of seventy- 
four pounds ' usual money,' burdened with the stipend of 
ten pounds a year (with his manse and glebe) to the vicar 
pensioner, ten marks to the cathedral of Aberdeen and the 
bishop's dues."^ 

5, The Farming of Churches. 

The fact stated above is mentioned here as illustrating 
the disproportion between the parochial revenues and the 
sum received by the working clergyman. But, having been 
mentioned, it suggests that this is not an inappropriate 
place to say something of the leasing of parish churches. 
To go with anything like thoroughness into the compli- 
cated history of the laws which from time to time regu- 
lated the farming {donatio ad firmam) of ecclesiastical 
benefices would require more space than can be here 

1 Reg. de Dry burgh, 27, 28. '^ Lib. dc Calchou, i. 228. 

3 This was the renewal of a previous lease to the same parties. 
* Rental-Book of Cupar Angus, ii. 26-27. 






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afforded to the subject. It must suffice to say briefly that, 
while the alienation of ecclesiastical property was rigidly 
forbidden by the Canon Law, it was lawful under certain cir- 
cumstances, and subject to certain conditions, for the holder 
of a benefice, in consideration of an advance of money, to 
give as security a claim on the fruits of the benefice for a 
limited number of years. Such transactions were looked 
on with disfavour, and could be legally effected only with 
the knowledge and consent of the bishop of the diocese or 
his archdeacon. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries 
to farm a benefice to a layman was forbidden,^ and any 
arrangement of that kind was to be held as null. There 
are indications from English sources that it was attempted 
to evade this enactment (which had effect also in England) 
by inserting in the contract the name of an ecclesiastic, 
and sometimes of a non-existent ecclesiastic, while in 
reality the firmarius was a layman. In the constitutions 
(a.d. 1342) of John Stratford, Archbishop of Canterbury, 
a dark picture is presented of the evils that sometimes 
followed. Cases were known of the lay farmer of the 
church setting himself down with his wife and children 
in the parsonage ; and even the greater scandal of the 
parsonage being turned into a public tavern was not 

In Scotland, in the thirteenth century, with a view to 
prevent anything like alienation, it was enacted that five 
years should be the limit for which a church could be 
assigned ad firmam^ and at the end of that term a new 
lease should not be to the same person, though after the 
intervention of another lease, the first lessee might again 
be admitted.^ 

In spite of ecclesiastical enactments the evil seems to 
have increased. In the belated Provincial Synods of 1549 
and 1552 efforts were made to remedy the unhappy state 
of things, which is described in language singularly frank 
and outspoken."^ But it was now too late. 

i5.£'.S. ii. 14, 41, 61, 67. 

-Wilkins' Concilia, ii. 704. See also for other English enactments 
dealing with this matter the same work, i. 580, 588, 651, 672 : ii. 10, 
502, 580, 588, 651, 672. 

3S.£.5. ii. 14. *'S.E.S. ii. 94, 134, 168. 


It must, however, be admitted that the letting of 
rectorial tithes by monasteries, in the case of appropriate 
churches situated in places remote from the monasteries 
possessing them, might be of real utility to the monasteries 
and of no disadvantage to the parish, if the transaction 
were conducted in a fair spirit. The real evil lay in the 
original appropriation ot parish churches, and the diverting 
of revenues bestowed for one purpose to another and totally 
different purpose. What is chiefly condemned by the late 
and reforming Councils of the sixteenth century is the 
leasing for long periods of church lands and teinds on very 
favourable terms to the relations or friends of ecclesiastics 
in power to the detriment of the Church. In the fifteenth 
and sixteenth centuries the leasing of their parish churches 
to laymen was the all but universal practice of the monas- 
teries, as is shown abundantly by the monastic chartularies. 
Occasionally (as we have seen) the vicarage as well as the 
rectory was let to lay persons with only the provision that 
a small pensio should be paid to a priest for the mainten- 
ance of the services and the care of the parish. 

6. Annexations of Benefices to Bishoprics, Abbeys^ and 
Priories, forbidden by Parliament. 

In 1 47 1 the Parliament of Scotland passed a very impor- 
tant Act affecting the Church in several ways. The pre- 
amble declares that ' gret dampnage and skaith was dayli 
donne to al the Realme be clerkis, religious and secularis 
quhilkis purches abbasyis and uther benefice at the court of 
Rome, quhilkis was never tharat of befor.' It is further 
complained that new taxes were imposed upon benefices 
by Rome, and that these, with annexations of benefices, 
were doing skaith to the common good of the Realm, 
* considering the innumerable riches that is had out of the 
Realm therethrough.' As a remedy of these evils Parlia- 
ment enacted that abbeys and elective benefices should 
enjoy freedom of election ; that none of the lieges, 
spiritual or temporal, be collectors to the See of Rome of 
any taxes higher than those of Bagimont ; and, lastly, that 
there should be no annexations of any benefice to 
bishoprics, abbeys, or priories, and that all annexations 


made since the king (James III.) came to the throne 
(1460) should be null and the benefices restored to their 
first foundation. The penalty of violating the act was 
severe : transgressors were to be held as traitors to our 
sovereign lord and his successors, and should ' never 
bruke benefice nor use worship within the Realm.' But 
an exception is made for any lords or barons effecting 
annexations of benefices, of their own patronage or of 
others, to ' secular colleges founded or to be founded.' 
This was a blow to the increasing wealth of the bishoprics 
and monastic houses. The ' secular collep-es ' referred to 


were, as I take it, the collegiate churches, the corporations 
of which consisted of secular clergy, and the patronage of 
which, as a rule, remained in the hands of the lay 

The occasion for this vigorous action is not very 
apparent. Doubtless the poverty of the kingdom stirred 
men to resist the transfer of large sums to Rome. But, 
at least on the king's part, one may question any genuine 
desire for freedom of election, as, only two years later 
than the Act of Parliament, he set aside the abbat elected 
by the monastery of Dunfermline, and by the aid of the 
Pope substituted a nominee of his own.^ 

The Act of 147 1 does not seem to have been completely 
effective ; for as early as 1488 it was re-enacted with 
additions, annulling annexations and unions of benefices 
made in the interval by Archbishop Graham." 

7. Rectors of Churches not necessarily in Holy Orders. 

The statutes of Scottish Councils in the thirteenth 
century contain ample evidence that the practice of lay- 
men, or persons in only minor orders, holding the rectorial 
rights of parish churches, was sufficiently common to 
demand legislation. We find a statute entitled 'That 
rectors be ordained and serve their churches.' In this 
ordinance it is enjoined ' that rectors of churches come to 
be ordained to first orders so that they may as soon as it is 
possible be duly ordained.' But it is immediately added 
that they may serve their churches by vicars if they do not 
^ See Lesley, De reb. gest. 305. 2 ^ p^ j^ \\^ 209. 


serve them in person.'^ It is plain that in Scotland, as 
in England, the founders and patrons of churches and 
their successors regarded the churches as property which 
they could bestow at will on some member of the family, 
though he were neither qualified nor desirous to take 
Holy Orders. Other statutes are to the same effect as 
that cited above.' Thus children who had received the 
first tonsure, admitting to minor orders, could hold a 
valuable benefice as rector on the condition that a vicar 
was appointed. Early in the fourteenth century Patrick, 
Earl of March, the patron, presented Fergus of Craw- 
ford, a boy of thirteen, to the church of Dairy, in the 
diocese of Galloway, and by him it was held for fifteen 
years, at the end of which he was not yet ordained.^ So 
far was the priesthood from being an object of desire that 
we have instances of men of family, and ecclesiastics 
engaged about the court, who were advanced to some 
bishopric, having to be ordained priest immediately before 
their consecration as bishop. Thus, towards the close 
of the twelfth century, Roger de Beaumont, cousin of the 
king, was elected to the bishopric of St. Andrews in 1 189, 
but it was not till after nearly ten years that he was made 
a priest prior to receiving consecration.^ A little later 
Adam of Crail, ' clericus regis,' seems to have been only a 
subdeacon when elected to the see of Aberdeen (1207).^ 
In dealing with some of the persons who appear in the 
charters of religious houses, or cathedrals, as ' rectors ' 
or ' parsons,' it would be very hazardous to conclude that 
they were ecclesiastics in more than name. Thus it would 
be rash to picture to ourselves Malise, brother of Robert, 
fourth Earl of Strathern, who appears as ' parson of Gask,' 
in the light of a man of noble family engaged iti the 
holy labours of the parish priest of a country church in 
Perthshire.^ The same may be said of certain members of 
the family of Hay of Errol, who were ' rectors ' of the 
church of Errol.'' 

1 Staf. Eccl. Scot. ii. 41. -Ibid. pp. 62-63. 

^ Cal. Pap. Reg. ii. 361. ^ Hovedcn, iv. 31. 

'•> Cal. Pap. Reg. i. 30. ^' Chartulary of L'tndores, pp. 30, 58. 

' Ibid. p. 84. 

X a 

^ ">^ 






An acquaintance with a practice only too common 
will render intelligible the Scottish statute already cited, 
and another which enjoins on every rector to have 
in his church a fit, competent, and well-instructed 
(Jiteratum) priest, or else be himself ordained priest 
to minister in his own church.^ 

Many examples of rectories being held by persons not 
in Holy Orders during the medieval period in England 
could be cited, showing that the Scottish Church did not 
differ in this respect from the Church south of the Tweed." 

The last Council of the Scottish clergy of the old 
regime passed a strict canon attempting to put an end to 
this abuse. All persons holding benefices in Scotland 
were to be compelled by their Ordinaries to receive Holy 
Orders between loth April and ist August, in the year 
1550. Like all the other enactments of that belated 
council, this ordinance was futile.^ 

In earlier times, papal dispensations to delay taking the 
priesthood are not uncommon. In 1254, Nicholas, Dean 
of Moray, received a dispensation to defer his ordination 
to the priesthood for five years, during which time he was 
to occupy himself with the study of theology. Three 
days subsequent to the date of this dispensation he 
received another dispensation to hold the perpetual vicar- 
age of Tharvays (Tarvas) in the diocese of Aberdeen, 
together with his deanery.'* In 1346, the rector of 
Hawick (who was also at the time a canon of Amiens) 
obtained from the Pope a license not to be ordained priest 
for seven years, yet in the meantime to enjoy the fruits of 
his benefices.^ A little later the parish church of KinefF 
was declared vacant, after being held ' for many years ' by 
one Robert Moyne, not in Holy Orders.^ The parish of 
Penningham, in Wigtonshire, had been held about the 

^5/^/. Eccl. Scot. ii. 63. 

2 The reader will find a popular, yet scholarly account of what is here 
noticed in Dr. E. L. Cutts' Parish Priests and their People in the Middle 
Ages in England, pp. 324-329. A striking illustration may be added. In 
1205, the Bishop of Winchester receives an order from Innocent III. to 
compel archdeacons, deans and others to take orders. Cal. Pap. Reg. i. 23. 

^Stat. Eccl. Scot. ii. 159. ^ Cal. Pap. Reg. i. 295. 

^Crt/. Pap. Reg. (Petitions), i. 123. '^ Ibid. 304. 



middle of the fourteenth century ' for many years ' by 
two persons in succession, neither of whom was in 
Holy Orders.^ 

Henry de Lichton (afterwards successively Bishop of 
Moray and of Aberdeen) was rector of the valuable 
benefice of Kinkel in Aberdeen, in 1409, and was 
dispensed from being ordained for five years, while 
studying at an university.' Many other examples might 
be cited. 

8. Manses. 

The ecclesiastical statutes of the thirteenth century, make 
it plain that at the time of their promulgation residences had 
not yet been provided for all the parochial clergy. The 
injunction is explicit, that within one year there should be 
provided near every parish church, a manse.^ The cost of 
its erection was to be borne by the rector and the vicar, 
the share to be paid by each being in proportion to the 
income derived by each from the parish. The main bulk 
of the initial cost would accordingly fall upon the rector. 
But the subsequent upkeep of the building was to be met 
by the vicar only, because, as is expressly stated, it was he 
who enjoyed ' the use and convenience of the building.' 
The vicar was to be compelled to keep the manse in repair 
under the penalty of the sequestration of the fruits of the 
benefice. It would evidently be a temptation to the rector 
to aim at providing as cheap a building as possible ; but 
the intention of the statute was that the vicar's house 
should be a good and substantial edifice, for it was to be 
a house ' in which the Bishop or Archdeacon could be 
honourably received,' when they made their visitation 

While there was no manse it was practically impossible 
to enforce residence. But even after the manse had been 
supplied, there was, it is evident, some difficulty in always 
securing that the responsible clergyman should reside. 

1 CW. Pap. Reg. (Petitions), i. 347. -Ibid. 639. 

^Mansum is the form of the word more commonly used, but numsio is 
also found. 
^S.E.S. il. 13. 


A statute of later date, apparently, than that just recited, 
refers to country clergy making their residence in towns. 
This is forbidden except by special dispensation, or, in 
cases of urgent necessity, under the heavy penalty of being 
deprived of the fruits of the benefice for the space of four 

In the fourteenth century the bishops had still to 
complain of the manses being poor and paltry buildings. 
The Bishop of St. Andrev^^s declares that he is unable 
to make his visitations in person, as he cannot be received 
propter simpHcitatem edificiorum in beneficiis nostre diocesis. 
He enjoins that this state of things should be altered 
before the next visitation, under a penalty of one hundred 

It may seem, and doubtless v^as, rather unreasonable to 
measure the suitability of a country clergyman's house by 
its fitness for the entertainment of the bishop, travelling 
with his retinue. But the effect must have been to make 
the manses a superior kind of building, and as the expense 
of all building had to be chiefly borne by the non-resident 
rector, who drew the main revenues of the parish in which, 
perhaps, he had never set his foot, in many cases it is prob- 
able that the working parish clergyman would have hailed 
the injunction with pleasure. 

Another statute (thirteenth century) ^ provides for the case 
of a rector leaving the manse in a ruinous condition at his 
decease. Whatever was required for putting the house in 
repair was to be deducted from the ecclesiastical revenues 
due to the deceased. In this connexion it may be repeated 
that, if not universally throughout Scotland, certainly in 
some dioceses, the representatives of beneficed clergymen 
were allowed the revenues of their benefice for one year 
from the date of their death. This in Scotland was styled 
the annuale. This privilege will be considered more fully 
hereafter. The statute referred to above, enjoins that the 
utensils {utensilia domus) should be left in the manse for 
the successor in office. The expression used in the statute 
is somewhat indefinite ; but here we find in illustration the 
' utensils ' which the beneficed clergy of cathedrals were 
required to leave for the use of their successors. 
1 Ibid. 5 9. 2 /3,v. 6^. 3 /^;v. 36. 


9. Clergy engaged for a Salary but without Fixity 
of Tenure. 

Beside rectors and vicars we find notices of priests cor- 
responding tolerably closely to those who are now known 
as assistant-curates. In the thirteenth century these priests 
are known as hired chaplains [ca^ellani conducticii). And it 
was thought necessary to promulgate a synodical ordinance 
that none such should demand or receive a salary of more 
than one hundred shillings for the year, although in times 
past, on account of extreme scarcity {^propter intollerabilem 
caristiam), larger sums had been given. It was permitted, 
however, that a rector or vicar, if so disposed, might, not 
as of right, but of courtesy, bestow on his assistant some 
old clothes {de vestibus antiquis) or some other gift. None 
of these chaplains should be engaged for less than twelve 
months, nor should he leave his charge without satisfying 
the archdeacon that he had reasonable cause, and no rector 
or vicar should engage him after he had left, unless he 
exhibited the archdeacon's letters of permission.^ These 
notices fall in with what we gather elsewhere as to a 
disposition shown sometimes by vicars as well as rectors 
to reside elsewhere than in their parishes. But of course 
there would often be instances where a resident rector or 
vicar might need assistance in the performance of his duty. 

10. The Parish Clerk. 

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the parish clerk 
{clericus parochialis) appears not infrequently in Scottish 
records. Though the name, ' parish clerk,' does not, I 
think, appear at an early date, the office oi parish clerk 
seems to be ecclesiastically identical with that ot the 
Aquaebajulus, as we may infer from the ceremonial of 
investiture of the parish clerk, which was the delivery 
of the water-stock (a bucket carried by a handle) and 
sprinkler {per traditioncm amphore benedicte ague et asper- 
sorii). The Aquaebajulus used to go on Sundays and 
great festivals to the houses of the parishioners with 

^ S.E.S. ii. 42, 51. Compare also Dc mutatione saccrdoium, p. 61. 



the blessed water, and having sprinkled the people in 
the house, received what was called ' alms,' which ' alms ' 
appear to have come in later times to be regarded as 
* dues.' ^ He also assisted at mass ; and, more par- 
ticularly, if we may transfer to Scotland what we know 
was the English practice, he was authorised to read the 
liturgical epistle. It was, perhaps, these duties that are 
referred to in a complaint made by the curate of Insch 
(1536) about the misbehaviour of the parish clerk depute, 
accompanied by the request that he should not be allowed 
to minister ' at the altar or to the parishioners ' till an 
enquiry was made into his conduct.^ 

It is particularly interesting to observe that in many 
cases the appointment of the parish clerk was made by 
the popular suffrage of the parishioners, and that the 
votes of women as well as of men were allowed. We 
possess detailed examples of such popular elections. The 
people convened in the parish church ; and sometimes in 
the instrument drawn up to be sent to the bishop (with 
whom it lay to admit the presentee, and order his in- 
duction) the names of those present (in the case of 
Morthlach about 150 in number, including the Earl of 
Atholl) are recorded, and of these there is occasionally 
a considerable proportion of women's names. ^ The in- 
terest taken in the election is shown by the presence of 
the rich and noble as well as the humbler parishioners, — 
generosi as well as husbandi et tenentes. The eminent legal 
antiquary, John Riddell, writing in 1842, observes the 
singularity of women ' having then no voice in law,' 
taking a part in the election ; and he adds, on this 
patronage possessed by the parishioners : ' The above 
was the only spiritual patronage parishioners possessed 
with us in papal times, although much the same 
right and procedure the present Presbyterian Scottish 
Church would now for the first time extend to them 

^ See the illustration of a lord and a lady being sprinkled as they sit 
at table, from a fourteenth century MS. in Dr. Cutts' Parish Priests and 
their People in the Middle Ages in England, p. 300. 

- Antiquities of Aberdeen and Banff, iii. 401-402. 

^ See Antiquities of Aberdeen and Banff, iii. 4154-457. 


in respect to church preferment and advowsons at 
large.' ^ 

It may be that the ecclesiastical rule that the election 
should be made by ' the larger or sounder ' part of 
the parishioners gave occasion to the not infrequent 
disputed elections which had to be tried and settled 
before the Consistory Courts. There is an example of 
a disputed election, the decision with regard to which 
must be placed between the death of Archbishop Alex- 
ander Stewart (9th Sept. 1513) and the promulgating of 
the bulls for Forman's appointment (15th Jan. 1515).^ 
The parishioners of Lessuaid (Lasswade) seem to have 
not been unanimous in their choice of a parish clerk. 
Some votes were given to ' the honourable man George 
Preston, son and apparent heir of the noble man Simon 
Preston of Preston, knight,' and some to James Sinclair. 
The case went to the Consistory, and the judge, the 
official and commissary of the archdeaconry of Lothian, 
pronounced in favour of Sinclair, condemning Preston 
to pay the costs. In another disputed election, by the 
parishioners of Edrom, between Master James Schoriswod 
and Alexander Hume, the election of the latter, which 
had actually been confirmed by the ordinary, was set 
aside, and both the election and confirmation declared 
null, as having been obtained by deceit {surreptione 

It is also of interest to observe that even in cases 
where the patronage of a parish clerkship was claimed 
and admitted to be in the hands of another, the 
parishioners were still called upon to ratify and assent 
to the appointment. In i486, we find the abbat of 
Holyrood appointing to the parish clerkship of Canon- 
gate and North Leith : yet on Sunday (2nd April) before 
the parish altar of the abbey, the parishioners [of the 
Canongate] being congregated in large numbers {in 
magna copia) at high mass, the sacristan, prior, and 

^ Inquiry into the Law and Practice in Scottish Peerages, ii. 683. Mr. 
Riddeil's statement in the latter part of the words cited is not correct. 
See the section 'The manner of electing the Pastors or Ministers in 
the First Book of Discipline.' 

2 Lil/er Officialis 5. Andree, i i 7- 1 1 8. ^ /^/^, 1 3 i - 1 3 2. 


sub-prior, in the name of the abbat, publicly asked the 
parishioners whether they were willing to approve and 
ratify the abbat's appointment. Whereupon, at the 
command of the parishioners, the clerk who had re- 
signed came forward and acknowledged that he had 
irrevocably resigned his office (on account of age and 
infirmity), and earnestly begged the parishioners to 
receive the abbat's nominee ; and immediately the 
parishioners with one consent approved and ratified in 
all points the grant made by the abbat. The old clerk 
thereupon delivered with his own hands the water- 
stock and sprinkler into the hands of his successor, 
who then passed through the church after the parish 
priest as the manner is in ministering the said office.-^ 
So far the transaction was complete as regards the 
parishioners of Canongate. But the parishioners of 
North Leith had also to be consulted ; and by a piece 
of singular good fortune the instrument testifying to 
their approval survives to supplement the information 
given above. Four days later than the transaction in 
the abbey church, a similar request was made in the 
name of the abbat at the head-court of his regality 
and barony of Broughton, where the parishioners of 
Leith were congregated, it is said, in great numbers. 
Here again the consent and assent of the parishioners 
was fully given, nullo contradicente? 

The transaction recorded above shows that it would 
be hazardous to infer that, where parish clerkships 
are said to be 'in the gift of the bishop ' — as in the 
case of certain parishes of the diocese of Aberdeen — 
the parishioners did not possess the right to approve or 
disapprove of the appointment.^ 

In England, even subsequent to the Reformation, 
and notwithstanding a canon to the contrary, the courts 
have in several cases decided that prescription, as proved 

^ Laing Charters^ No. 196. 

2 The instrument, from the charters of the Duke of Roxburgh, is 
printed by Cosmo Innes in the appendix to Lib. Offic. S. Andr. pp. 
xlvi, xlvii. 

3 See Reg. Ep. Aberd. i. 381. 


by ancient usage, gave in certain parishes the right of 
electing the parish clerk to the parishioners.^ 

The indications we have in record of * parish clerks 
depute ' is of a piece with the inveterate habit of medieval 
ecclesiastics, of all grades, getting other persons to do their 
work, while they themselves pocketed the main part of 
the profits.^ It may help, too, to make more intelligible 
the desire sometimes exhibited by persons of high social 
position to secure an office that is associated in our minds 
with notions of inferiority and subjection. But, however 
this may be, it is a matter of fact that the office of parish 
clerk was sometimes filled by men of family. As noticed 
above (p. 134) we find the son and heir of Sir Simon 
Preston, knight, competing for the parish clerkship of 
Lasswade. The parish clerk of TuUynessle, in 1556, was 
William Gordon, described as films nobilis viri Alexander 
Gordon of Strathoine, and his successor, elected by the 
parishioners, is Patrick Leyth filius honor ahilis viri, Patrick 
Leyth de Crannoth.^ And, doubtless, those who are 
versed in Scottish family histories could name others of 
good social position who can be identified with persons 
named as parish clerks.^ But the subject needs further 

^ See Burn's Ecclesiastical Law, s.v. Parish Clerk, where much that is 
interesting on the accustomed alms given to the clerk will be found. 

2 See Jntiquities of Aberdeen and Banff, iii. 454.-457. This case (i 550) 
looks as if the clerkship was to serve as a kind of bursary to a student at 
Aberdeen, a deputy doing the work, and there are other indications 
elsewhere that point to similar uses of the income. Certainly in 
medieval England we find episcopal constitutions prescribing that the 
holy water should be conferred upon poor scholars, as, for instance, the 
constitutions of William de Bleys (a.d. 1229). See Wilkins' Concilia, 
i. 633- 

^ Collections, Aberdeen and Banff, 628. 

* Dr. J. Wickham Legg, in his valuable Introduction to The Clerk's 
Book of j^4g (Henry Bradshaw Society), p. xxxvii, cites Dr. Raine for 
the fact that in Northumberland shortly after the Reformation ' in many 
parishes or chapelries, in which was settled a house of old descent and 
note and coat armour, we have one of the same family name acting as 
parish clerk.' For the subject of the parish clerk in England Dr. Legg's 
Introduction is full of information. 


1 1 . The word ' Plebania.' 

Before closing this account of the parochial system in 
medieval times it is right to say something of the word 
plebania as applied to a large parochial district with sub- 
ordinate chapels. The prebend of Kinkell was styled a 
plebania} It had chapels within the parish, which was of 
wide extent. The name occurs, as applied to Kinlcell, in 
a sixteenth century notice of the prebends of Aberdeen.^ 
I imagine that the word was simply borrowed from the 
use of the word as in the Sext of the Decretals^ as 
applied to certain parish churches 'sub se capellas 
habentes.' I take it that the word was an affectation 
of the writer, and in Scotland used, when used at all, 
as it were in inverted commas. The rectory of Kinkell 
was so rich and extensive, and dignified by the possession 
of chapels of ease, that it was, as I fancy, a little joke in the 
chapter-house to style it the plebania. It does not occur, 
I think, in any charter or legal document relating to the 
parish. I hold it to be merely an affected employment 
of a term used but infrequently out of Italy.* 

12. The meaning of the term ' Altarage.' 

In arrangements with regard to the apportionment of 
the revenues of a parish, as they are stated in the deeds 
recorded in the ecclesiastical registers, the word ' altarage ' 
{altaragium) occurs from time to time. By some 
writers who have not been well versed in the study of 
medieval antiquities, the word has been, perhaps not 
unnaturally, understood to signify only the oblations or 
offerings (some of which had come to be regarded as 
' dues ') customarily paid to the priest officiating at the 

1 Bishop Henry de Lychton is said to have added to his chapter 
'prebendam de Kinkel, alias 6.\c\.d.m plebaniam, seu militum Hierosolimi- 
tanorum cum capellis ejusdem.' Reg. Aberd. ii. 253. There were six 
chapels beside the mother-church. 

-Reg. Jberd. ii. 253. HII. tit. xxiv. cap. i. 

■^Mr. Cosmo Innes refers to the great parish of Stobo with its 
chaplainries as being another plebania, but the word, it is admitted, is 
not found in record as applied to Stobo. Orig. Paroch. i. 197. 


altar. But a more careful study makes it plain that 
by this term there was also sometimes included the 
customary allowance of the small tithes (as distinguished 
from the greater or garbal tithes) made to the vicar.^ 

Thus, to take a few examples, in the bulls fixing the 
allowances to be granted to the perpetual vicars of those 
churches in the diocese of Aberdeen which pertained 
respectively to the monasteries of Arbroath and Lindores 
in the year 1257, we find no express mention of the 
small tithes, while the word ' altaragium ' seems plainly 
used in opposition to the garbal tithes. In the case of 
Fywin (Fyvie) this is brought out clearly. The altarage 
is assigned to the vicar, except lambs or marketable wool 
{lana pacabilis) to the value of five marks, which, with the 
whole of the garbal tithes, should go to Arbroath.- The 
sense now given to the term ' altarage ' will explain the 
language of an arrangement entered into in 1227 with 
respect to the allowances to the vicars of the appropriate 
churches of the monastery of Paisley. Thus the vicar of 
Turneberie was to have 100 shillings from the altarage, 
or, if the altarage did not suffice, out of the tithe of corn. 
And the vicar of Rutherglen was to have the altarage 
except the tithe of fish, on paying two marks to the 

But though the word ' altarage ' was not ordinarily used 
exclusively of the offerings made by the people, the 
offerings were certainly included under that term, and 
these offerings sometimes made an appreciable addition to 
the priest's income. 

^ See the additions to Ducange by the Benedictines, s.v. altaragium. 

2 See R.J. \. pp. 18-26. This sense of the word 'alt.imge' is to be 
the more carefully noted because the word was sometimes used for the 
voluntary offerings made to the priest ministering at the altar. See the 
Commentaria of Johannes de Athona on the Conslitutioncs D. Othonis et 
D. Othobom, appended to Lyndwood's ProvlnciaU (Oxon. 1679). 

3 Rcght. de Passclet, 321. 



The Scottish thirteenth century statutes prescribe that the 
parish church should be built of stone.^ Possibly there 
were still surviving some of the wooden structures which 
formed the churches of the early Celtic Christianity of the 
country .2 The cost of the building was to be defrayed by 
the parishioners, with the exception of the chancel, which 
was to be built at the cost of the rector.^ 

The churches were to be supplied with the proper 
furniture (ornamentd)^ books, and vessels.'* 

After their construction the churches were to be duly 
consecrated.^ This obligation was otten neglected. The 
zeal of David de Bernham, bishop of St. Andrews, exhibited 
itself in the consecration of a great number of churches 
(140 in all) between 1240 and 1249 > ^^^ ^^ would be a 
mistake, into which some have fallen, to suppose that these 
various churches were only recently erected.*^ 

^ Statuta Eccles'iae ^cotkanae, ii. 11. 

2 The Saxon church, rudely constructed of split oak, at Greenstead in 
Essex, survives to this day. 

3 The upkeep, in whole or part, of the fabric of the chancel was by 
arrangement often imposed upon the vicars. Examples will be found in 
Reg. Aberdon. i. 23 ; Chartiilary ofLindores, p. 100. 

*The text reads vasts ; but I suspect that this is an error for vestimentis. 
The vasa are included in the ornamcnta. 

^Stat. Eccl. Scot. ii. 11. 

^ In 1240 Bishop Bernham dedicated the churches of Lasswade, the 
Preaching Friars at Perth, and St. Nicholas, Berwick. In 1241 he dedi- 


From another set of statutes (also of the thirteenth 
century) we learn that the windows were to be glazed, 
— those in the chancel at the cost of the rector, and 
those in the body of the church at the cost of the 

Each church should have a silver chalice which, to- 
gether with the books and whatever was necessary for 
the covering of the altar and for its lights, should be 
provided by the rector under penalty of suspension 
from his benefice.^ 

The books and sacerdotal vestments in good con- 
dition were to be left to his successor by the rector, 
otherwise the portion of his income due should be 
mulcted to the extent of what was necessary to supply 
the want.^ 

There should be a font {haptisterium) of stone or wood, 
and, when not in use, it should be kept locked.* Fonts 
with a lid or cover, with lock attached, were common in 
English churches, and several specimens of medieval fonts 
with such covers still exist. The font was to be of 
sufficient size (competens) ; this presumably refers to the 
fact that in all ordinary cases baptism was administered to 
infants by immersion. And it is thus the word competens 
is glossed by Lyndwood^ when commenting on the cor- 
responding English statute : ' The font is to be of 

Ccited the churches of Kirkton (r St. Ninian's, Stirlingshire), Merton near 
Dryburgh, Yester, Linton (in Haddingtonshire), Forteviot, Kinnettles, 
Mid-Calder, St. Cuthbert's, Edinburgh {sub castro), and Channelkirk 
in Berwickshire. In 1242 he dedicated the churches of Gordon in 
Berwickshire, Stitchel in Roxburghshire, Fogo, Greenlaw, Langton, 
Polwarth, and Chirnside, all in Berwickshire, Holy Trinity, Berwick, 
Baro (Haddingtonshire), Pencaitland, Cockpen, Linlithgow, Collace in 
Perthshire, Falkirk {Fa?-ia Capelld), Strachan, Nigg, Arbuthnott, KinnefF, 
St. Cyrus (Egglesgerch), Aberluthnoth (Marykirk, Kincardine), Tanna- 
dyce, Invcrkeilor, St. Vigean's, near Arbroath, Aberlemno, Glamis, 
Airlie, Newtylc, Fugeles (? Fowlis Easter), Perth, Abdic, Flisk, Wymeth 
(Woolinet, Midlothian), Seaton, Gulanc, the Nuns of North Berwick, 
Innerwick, Oldhamstocks, Legerwood, VVcdalc, Erseldun (Earlston). 
These (exhibited as specimens) and the remaining churches dedicated 
by Bernham will be found recorded in the Pontifical Offices used by De 
Bernham, edited by Canon Christopher Wordsworth, 1885. 

^Stat. Eccl. Scot. ii. 53. -Ibid. '^Ibld. 35. 

^ Ibid. 39. ^ Provhtciale, lib. iii. tit. 24. 

o -= 










5 B « 


sufficient size to allow of immersion in it.' ^ The per- 
mission to use wood in the construction of a font was 
unusual, but if, as was common, the bowl or basin of the 
font was lined with lead, it mattered little whether the 
outer part was of wood or of stone. Though wooden 
fonts were unusual, we find that some of the medieval 
statutes of England, when treating of the material of the 
font, say it is to be * lapideum vel aliud.' " 

Notices of covers for the font appear in many church 
inventories in England in the sixteenth and seventeenth 
centuries, and some of the bishops enjoined them on the 
clergy in their Visitation Articles.^ 

The Scottish statute further ordains that when those 
who were charged with the duty of keeping the font 
locked were negligent they were to be suspended from 
office for three months, while if, through their negligence, 
any profane abuse of the water occurred, the punishment 
should be increased/ The Scottish statutes supply no 
hint as to what abuse of the water was feared. Here, 
however, happily some English statutes of the period 
come in to affiDrd us some light. The Provincial Statutes 
of St. Edmund of Canterbury (a.d. 1236) direct the fonts 
to be kept locked propter sortilegia^ implying that there was 
danger of the water being employed for some superstitious 
purpose connected with conjuration or magical arts.*^ 

The importance of the custody and control of the font 
being in the power of the priest is indicated in the cere- 
monial sometimes followed in giving possession of a 
church. Thus in 1527 a priest is put in possession of 
the church of Kilmarnock by the delivery to him of the 

1 Compare the Constitutions (a.d. 1240) of Walter de Cantilupe, 
bishop of Worcester, enjoining that there should be a stone font 
'decentis amplitudinis et profunditatis.' Wilkins' Concilia, i. 666. 

2 It is said that there is an ancient wooden font at Evenechtyd in 
Denbighshire. F. G. Lee's Glossary of Liturgical and Ecclesiastical Terms ; 
s.v. ' Font.' 

2 See Hierurgia Anglicana (Staley's edit.), i. 3-10. 

^Stat. Eccl. Scot. ii. 30. ^Wilkins' Concilia, i. 636. 

^ Lyndwood says the fonts were to be kept locked ' ut aqua servetur 
munda, et ne laicis vel aliis ad aquam ejusdem pateat accessus ad aliqua 
nefaria exercenda.' Provinciale, iii. 24. 


door-key, chalice, missal, vestments, and of the lock of 
the font (seram fontis)} 

The chrism and the reserved host were similarly to be 
kept under lock and key.^ 

The water in the font was to be kept for seven days 
only after a child had been baptised in it.^ The Sarum 
Manual is less precise, but directs that the water should 
be renewed frequently (jaepe)^ lest the water should 
become foul {^propter aquae corruptionem)} Doubtless the 
reason why fresh water was not placed in the font when- 
ever there were children to be baptised lay in the fact 
that it was required that the fresh water should be 
blessed ; and this part of the service, the Benedictio Fontis, 
including a rather long litany and other prayers, with the 
ceremonial addition of oil and chrism to the water, would 
occupy much time. The ceremonial of the medieval 
Church does not come within the scope of the present 
work. But it is right to say something of the 'chrysoms' 
or chrism-clothes, for they formed a not unimportant 
perquisite of the parish church.^ Immediately after the 
last of the three immersions of the child the priest made 
the sign of the cross on the child's head with his thumb, 
which had been smeared with the chrism, or, as it was 
called in old English, the ' cream.' After this a white 
linen cloth was wrapped round the head and body of 
the child, the notion being that the cloth retained the 
unction and prevented it being rubbed off. This was 
the pannus chrismalis. The Scottish statutes agree with 
several English statutes of the thirteenth century in 
directing that the chrism-clothes after they had served 
their purpose were to be brought back, and given for 
the use of the church.^ 

'^ Regis t. de C ambus kyn. ^ Stat. Eccl. Scot. ii. 30. "^ Ibid. 

'*The York Manual directs * Infans in fontem si stcrcorcc ejice 
lympham. Si tantum iningat non moveatur aqua.' 

^'Chrysoms' are entered as forming a part of 'the valew and stynt ' 
of the benefice of St. Magnus, London Hridge, in 1494. Maslcell's 
Monumenta Ritualia (2nd edit.), i. 27. 

*^*Panni Chrismales non nisi in usus ornamcntorum ecclesie conver- 
tantur.' S.£.S. ii.31. This ordinance agrees with those of the Council of 
Durham (sometime between 1217 and 1226) and several other English 
ordinances. See Wilkins' Conci/ia, i. 576, 636, 656, 688, 705, and ii. 132. 


The Scottish vernacular name for this cloth was the 
cude'^ \ and in Spottiswoode's account of the baptism of 
James VI. at Stirling we read that Lord Semple carried 
the cude? 

The Scottish statute which we are considering, doubt- 
less to secure for the church a continuous succession of 
chrism-clothes, enjoins that when they had been brought 
back to the church they should not be given at request 
or for a consideration {j)rece vel precio) to be used at 
another baptism. ^ 

The possession of a font was a characteristic of a parish 
church. Private chapels, and, generally, chapels of ease, 
and (except by special privilege) the churches of the 
monasteries were forbidden to possess fonts> Hence the 
term ' baptismal church ' is of very frequent occurrence 
in the sense of a parish church. 

Within the church, laymen were forbidden to enter the 
chancel or to stand or sit among the clergy when the 
service was being said ; but an exception is made for 
knights, barons, and the founder of the church.^ In 
another statute of the same century the exception is 
limited to the king and the magnates of the kingdom 
(majoribus regn'i).^ 

The churchyard was to be enclosed and protected from 
the intrusion of animals. The cost of the enclosure was 
to be borne by the parishioners, except for the part 
adjoining the chancel, which was to be paid for by the 

^ See Archbishop Hamilton's Catechism (Law's edit.), p. 192. 

^History (edit. 1655), p. 197. One cannot say whether it is merely a 
misprint or an attempted emendation, on the part of the editor, of a 
word he did not understand, when we find in Bishop Russell's edit. 
(1851) the word 'rude' substituted for 'cude.' Vol. ii. p. 42. 

3 There seems to have been no ritual objection to using the cloth 
again at another baptism. See the Sarum Manual, which expressly 
permits its use on a second occasion. Maskell's Mon. Rit. i. 26. 

^The prevailing rule as regards private chapels was that they 
could not be erected without the bishop's license, that the chaplain 
should take an oath of fealty to the rector or vicar of the parish, 
and that all the offerings made in the chapel should go to the 
parish church. 

^Stai. Eccl. Scot. ii. 46. ^ Ibid. 42. 


rector, though where the custom existed even this part 
was to be made by the parishioners.^ 

We find legislation aimed at the preservation of the 
church and churchyard for sacred purposes. The church 
was doubtless felt to be a convenient place in which to 
hold the court of barony, when often no other building 
of considerable size was to be found. Hence it was 
necessary to forbid the holding of secular courts by 
laymen in churches or cemeteries.^ Another ordinance 
is more specific ; secular causes were not to be tried 
there, especially those which might be followed by a 
sentence involving the loss of life or limb,^ 

A curious picture of the manners of the day is presented 
by the thirteenth century statute forbidding under the 
highest ecclesiastical censures the holding of wrestling 
matches or sports in churches or cemeteries on festivals,* 
Again, we find another statute prohibiting dances or 
lascivious games in churches or cemeteries,^ It is to be 
remembered that the nave of the church was not filled 
with seats, as in more recent times, but was commonly 
an open space where the worshippers stood or knelt ; and 
a very ready floor for a dance would be supplied by the 
smooth flags with which it was commonly paved. 

It is only justice to Scotland to say that the prohibition 
of dances and wanton sports in cemeteries is borrowed 
almost word for word from the Constitutions (1223) of 
Richard Poore, bishop of Salisbury, enacted for his diocese 
in the extreme south of England.^ Still, as has been 
pointed out by Mr. Joseph Robertson, there was need of 
some restraints in the northern kingdom. There was 
bull-baiting in the churchyard of Kirkcudbright on St. 
Cuthbert's day, 11 64.' And in Easter-week in 1282 
the churchyard of Inverkeithing in Fife was a scene of 

^Sfa/. Eccl. Scot. li. 53, "Ibid. 42. 

^ Ibid. 38. The latter statute is borrowed from the Sarum Con- 
stitutions of 1223. Wilkins' Concilia, i. 600. 

^Ibid. 40. '"Ibid. 38. 

•'Wilkins' Concilia, i. 600. Hut it is to be noted that the Scottish 
statute adds the word 'churches' to 'cemeteries.' 

"^ Reg. Dunelm. de Cuthberti virtut. cc. Ixxxiv, Ixxxv. 


dancing, preceded and followed by such abominable 
obscenity on the part of the parish priest that one can 
only imagine that he was drunk, or not in his senses 
at the time.i As late as 1503 we find Parliament for- 
bidding the holding of markets or fairs within churches 
and churchyards under pain of escheat of goods.^ It 
is a mistake to suppose that the middle ages were 
characterised by any specially marked veneration for 
sacred things. 

Such were some of the attempts made by ecclesiastical 
and civil legislation to preserve and foster the sentiment of 
reverence for the house of God, and to secure its sanctity. 

We may now turn to consider one of the most 
cherished privileges of the parish church, namely, the 
temporary protection which it was allowed to afford to 
those who fled to it from the pursuit of persons who 
were smarting under some real or supposed wrong. They 
might be criminals or they might be wrongly suspected of 
crime ; but all were alike given a temporary defence against 
the passion of revenge. Every baptismal church and every 
church possessing the right of sepulture (this would include 
most monastic churches) enjoyed this privilege. 

Apparently in all cases protection was to be secured to 
the fugitive until the bishop or his ofl!icial gave formal 
sentence that the offence alleged belonged to a class which 
was exempted from protection. It is thus, as I understand 
it, that the following statute is to be interpreted : * Of 
the immunity of churches : We ordain that those who 
flee for protection to the church shall be defended by 
the same unless they be pillagers of fields by night 
{nocturni depopulatores agrorum) or public and notorious 
highway-robbers {^predones viarum puhlicarum) or manifest 
violators of churches or church-breakers, or those who 
have been excommunicated a canone vel ab homine. In 
which cases they are still to be defended until the 
Diocesan or his Official shall have formally {sentencialiter) 
pronounced that they should not be defended/ ^ 

Mr. Joseph Robertson has called attention to the fact 

^ See Chronicon de Lanercost, p. 109. '^ Act. Pari. ii. 245, 252. 

35/tf/. Eccl. Scot. ii. 18. 



that there exists a secular ordinance of Scottish origin, but 
of * unascertained date,' expressed in almost identical 
language.^ But he has failed to observe that the language 
of both the secular and ecclesiastical law is drawn from 
one of the Decretals of Gregory IX. This Decretal may 
possibly have claimed special attention in Scotland through 
the fact that it is the response of the Pope (Innocent III.) 
to an inquiry of the King of ' Scotland ' (Scotiae). The 
rescript is assigned to 'about 12 12.' It is not improbable 
that neither the canonists nor civilians of the day in Scot- 
land were aware that the ' Scotland ' meant was Ireland.'^ 

The Canon Law extended the privilege of protecting 
criminals to churches ' in which the divine mysteries are 
celebrated,' although such churches are not yet con- 
secrated.^ In Scotland where, as we can infer from the 
pages of the so-called Pontifical of David de Bernham, 
so many churches remained long unconsecrated, this 
privilege was of much practical importance. 

I do not recollect having met in our Scottish records 
any notice of the length of time during which the fugitive 
in Scotland was entitled to protection trom the parish 
church. In England it was forty days ; and before the 
expiry of the forty days a fugitive guilty of felony might, 
while under the protection of the church, take an oath ' to 
abjure the realm,' i.e. to quit the country, and not return 
without the king's license. But, though the length of 
the period during which protection was afforded in parish 
churches is not specified, it is plain from certain Scottish 
statutes that protection was extended for some considerable 
time, for we find a statute of the diocese of Aberdeen 
(thirteenth century) forbidding the removal of provisions 
intended for the sustenance of such fugitives, or the besieg- 
ing of the fugitives themselves by surrounding the walls.'* 

i^fA Pari. i. 752. 

'■^See the Note in the edition of the Corpus Juris Canonici by the 
brothers Pithaeus {Pansiis, 1687), vol. ii. p. 198. The king was the 
King of Connaught. See Cn/. Pap. Reg. (Letters), i. 9. 

^ Decret. Greg. IX. lib. iii. tit. xlix. 6. 

* Stat. Eccl. Scot. ii. 37. In England it was recognised that fugitives 
should be permitted without molestation to relieve the wants of nature 
outside the walls of the church. 


In another statute, assigned also with probability to 
the thirteenth century, we find it ordained that ' in every 
baptismal church {i.e. every parish church), and in every 
church where there is sepulture, there shall be secure 
asylum [refugium) for everyone to whom it is conceded 
of right, in the cemetery for thirty paces round.' ^ The 
Aberdeen statute, referred to above, may be illustrated 
from certain Gravamina set forth by the English bishops 
about the year 1257, among which we have the complaint 
that when a fugitive had sought the protection of a 
church, the burial-ground or the steps of the church were 
surrounded by persons on guard, so that it was scarcely 
possible to supply the fugitive with the food necessary to 
support life.2 

The difficulties sometimes experienced in giving effective 
protection to fugitives are well illustrated by a narrative 
given by Bower in his additions to Fordun.^ When 
the castle of Edinburgh was in the hands of the English 
in the time of Edward III., one of the officers of the 
English garrison was killed in the city by a Scot named 
Prendergast. The deed was prompted by a desire for 
revenge on account of a real or fancied insult. Pren- 
dergast succeeded in flying to the Abbey of Holyrood, 
and claimed asylum by ringing the bell, * as the custom 
is.' * Failing to get admission into the chancel, which 
at the time was closed, he entered the chapel of St. 
Augustine, and was speedily discovered by his English 
pursuers on his knees before the altar. The English 
placed a guard upon the chapel to prevent the entrance 
of food, and, apparently from outside the screen of the 
chapel, attempted to keep the fugitive from obtaining any 
sleep by prodding him with spikes fastened to long sticks. 
How the monks let down food to him from above, and 
how his escape was eventually effected make an interesting 
story, for which we must refer the reader to the original, 
as it is not pertinent to our inquiry.^ 

Passing from the privilege of the baptismal church, and 

'^Stat. Eccl. Scot. ii. 46. 2Wilkins' Concilia, i. 727. 

3 Scotichron. lib. xiii. cap. 42. [* Cf. Leges Marchiarum in A.P.S. i. 416.] 
^ It is questionable whether at this date Holyrood possessed any special 
privilege as sanctuary. [But cf. Asloati's MS. p. 44.] 


the church possessing the rights of sepulture, something 
remains to be said of the special privileges of those places 
possessing what was known as the right of ' sanctuary.* 
In Scotland, as in England, the privilege of sanctuary 
seems to have been based in each case on a special grant 
from the Crown, or at least on the recognition by the 
Crown of an ancient and well-established custom. The 
king, to do honour to some favoured church, or to show 
his devotion to some particular patron saint, would confer 
the privilege of sanctuary. 

Churches specially privileged as Sanctuaries. 

Lands around a church enjoying the special privilege 
of sanctuary, as distinguished from the ordinary privilege 
of every parish church, were often of very considerable 
extent. They were known as the 'girth' or 'grith'; and 
the 'girth' limits were commonly indicated by the erection of 
stone crosses, or of stones marked with a cross. David I. 
in 1 143 granted to the monks of Kelso the ancient church 
of Lesmahago in Clydesdale, Lesmahago, which appears 
to have been an early foundation of Celtic Christianity, 
had long enjoyed the right of sanctuary, and its girth 
was marked by four crosses. In his charter to Kelso the 
King says : ' Whosoever, to escape peril of life or limb, 
shall flee to the same cell,^ or within the four crosses which 
mark the bounds, to them I grant my firm peace, out 
of the reverence I bear to God and St. Machut.' - 

At Tain, the venerated shrine of St. Duthac, there was 
also a girth, marked by four crosses. ^ It is not very long 
ago since the crosses that marked the girth of Dull, in 
Atholl, were removed. And one or more of the stones 
bearing the cross of St. John still remain, it is said, to 
mark the ancient extent — a mile in every direction — of 
the girth of the Preceptory of the Knights of St. John of 

^ Lesmah.igo, then a * cell,' or dependency of the Abbey of Kelso. 

2 L'tber de Calchou, p. 9. ' Ecclesia Machuti ' is the title by which the 
place was known, and it seems to have been corrupted into Lesmachute. 
St. Machutus was supposed to be a companion of St. Brendan on his 
voyage to the Orcades. 

^As late as 1681 the bailiary of Tain was 'within the four girth 
crosses.' Act. Pari. viii. 386. 


Jerusalem at Torphichen, in Linlithgowshire. Similarly, 
a mile on all sides was the extent of the girth of the 
English sanctuaries of Hexham, Beverley, Ripon, and St. 
Edmundsbury. At Applecross in Ross-shire, like Les- 
mahago, a sanctuary of the Celtic period, renowned as 
possessing the remains of St. Maelrubha, a martyr, who 
suffered at the hands of the Danes, the girth extended to 
six miles round the church.^ I have not met with any 
notice [other than the Prendergast incident above 
mentioned] of Holyrood having privileges of sanctuary 
in medieval times. I am inclined to think it owed the 
privileges of later days to its having become a royal 
residence. But I must not allow myself to be drawn 
to discuss the interesting questions connected with sanc- 
tuary derived from the connexion of any place with the 
monarch. 2 

There was a famous sanctuary at Wedale (St. Mary's 
Church at Stow, near Galashiels), a place rendered 
peculiarly sacred on account of its possessing what was 
supposed to be a figure of the Virgin brought from the 
East by King Arthur. And, according to Dr. Stuart, 
' there existed a well-known road to the sanctuary of 
Stow, across the hills, called the Girthgate:^ Sanctuary 
was also the privilege of the church of St. Baldred at 
Tyninghame in East Lothian. Sanctuary was granted to 
the church of Inverleithan in the county of Peebles by 
Malcolm, the Maiden ; and the grant has a certain 
historical interest on account of the reason assigned by 
the King for the honour thus conferred. Malcolm's 
charter in the Kelso Chartulary declares that in the church 
of Inverleithan the ' body of my son rested on the first 
night.' * Lord Hailes long ago made use of this charter 
to explode the fiction that the name of the Maiden 
bestowed on Malcolm IV. was on account of his per- 

1 Breviar. Aberdon. pars ativ. p. xc, b. 

2 Halkerston's Treatise on the history, laws, and privileges of the Palace 
and Sanctuary of Holyroodhouse supplies no evidence on the origin of the 
right of sanctuary attaching to the Abbey. It is scarcely possible that 
if the Abbey enjoyed any special privilege of this kind in the middle 
ages all evidence on the subject should have perished. 

^Sculptured Stones, ii, p. Ixvii. ^ Liber de Calchou, vol. i. p. 22. 


petual chastity. Inverleithan was to possess * in omni 
suo territorio ' as full a privilege of asylum {refugium) 
as was possessed by Wedale or Tyninghame.^ 

There were several sanctuaries of lesser note. Fordun 
mentions four such in his chapter on the islands of 
Scotland (lib. ii. cap. lo). Sanctuary existed, according 
to this writer, at Hy Columbkille, at Helant Macar- 
myk, at Aweryne, and at Helant Leneow, Mr. W. F. 
Skene proposed as identifications for the last three places 
named, Eilean-more, Sanday, and Eilean-na-naomh." On 
this matter Fordun may be trusted. But one hesitates 
to accept all the claims for the possession of the privilege 
that have been put forward on behalf of various other 
places in the Western Highlands and Islands. In some 
cases certainly there seems to be no evidence beyond local 
tradition ; and nothing would be easier than to confuse 
the common rights of every parish church with the special 
privileges of sanctuary .^ 

On the other hand, it must be admitted that in the 
wild days of Celtic Christianity there would be a more 
frequently pressing need for protection being afforded to 
fugitives.* The famous 'Cross Macduff' in Fife, near 
Newburgh, about one-third of a mile from the boundary 
of Perthshire, seems to have been an ancient tribal sanc- 
tuary ; and a very peculiar survival of the ancient and 
recognised custom of affording protection to those who 
could claim kin to Macduff lingered long. The subject 
has been dealt with by Dr. John Stuart, with his usual 
fulness and accuracy in the Preface to the second volume 
of his Sculptured Stones J' 

^ See Hailes' Annah, vol. i. p. 129. 

2 Skene's edition of Fordun in the Historians of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 39. 

3 The following places are alleged to have been sanctuaries: Kilmoni- 
vaig (near the modern Fort Augustus) ; Kingarth, in Bute ; Lismore, 
the cathedral of Argyll ; Kilcomkill, on the Sound of Mull; Kilmoluag, 
in the island of Raasay ; Kilmuir, in the island of North Uist. And 
other names could be added. See Or'tgines ParochiaUs, vol. ii. under the 
various names. 

* See Lib. xxviii. De civitatibus refugti in the ancient collection of 
canons of the Irish Church, printed by Wasserschleben in his Die irische 
Kanoncniammluiig, pp. i I l-l 16. 

*Pp. Ixvi-lxxvi. 


The Abbey of Dunfermline, it has been supposed, 
possessed the rights of sanctuary, but the evidence does 
not appear to me to be quite conclusive that its right 
of affording asylum was other than that possessed by 
other churches having the right of sepulture.^ 

As regards the protection afforded to fugitives, whether 
in parish churches or in privileged sanctuaries, it would 
be a mistake to suppose that all the evils which, it is 
obvious, would attend such immunities in a settled and 
well-organised system of government such as we now 
enjoy, were consequent upon these church-rights in an 
age when the administration of justice was carried on 
with all the imperfections that attended the local courts 
of those tenants holding their lands in liberam haroniam, 
or even of the lords of regality. It is obvious that a 
feudal superior administering justice among those who 
stood to him in the relation of vassals, whose interests 
often came into collision with his own, must at times 
have been prejudicial to equity. Revenge is not always 
* wild justice.' And animosity and prejudice, short of the 
spirit of revenge, are not wholly unknown even in modern 
times among the occupants of the magisterial bench. 
'Justices' justice' does not, even now, always command 
respect. Certainly in barbarous or only half-civilised 
regions there must have been many cases when the 
immunities of parish churches and of sanctuaries served 
a beneficent and useful purpose. If nothing else, they 
made men pause, and gave time for the first flush of 
passion to subside. A distinguished student of history, 
whose sympathies are not ordinarily with the institutions 
of the medieval church, Henry Hallam, speaking of the 
rights of sanctuary, observes : ' Under a due adminis- 
tration of justice this privilege would have been simply 
and constantly mischievous, as we properly consider it to 
be in those countries where it still subsists. But in the 
rapine and tumult of the middle ages the right of sanctuary 
might as often be a shield to innocence as an immunity 
to crime. We can hardly regret, in reflecting on the 
desolating violence which prevailed, that there should have 

^The evidence may be seen in Stuart's Sculptured Stones, vol. ii. 
p. Ixvii. 



been some green spots in the wilderness where the feeble 
and the persecuted could find refuge.' ' 

The rather scanty information supplied from our eccle- 
siastical records receives some valuable additions from 
the remains that have come down to us of early civil 
legislation. Some of these particulars may be given in a 
slightly abbreviated form.- In the Statutes (a.d. 1230) 
of Alexander II. we find enacted (i) of thieves and 
reivers (raptoribus) that if any of them flees to the church, 
and there penitently confesses that he has grievously 
sinned, and declares that for the love of God he has 
sought God's house for the sake of safety (j)ro sua salute)^ 
he shall have [the King's] peace in this manner : — he 
shall lose neither lite nor limb, but shall restore whatever 
he has dishonestly taken, and shall pay the King's mulct 
{emendam) according to the law of the land. (2) More- 
over he shall swear on the Book of the Gospels that for 
the future he will never commit robbery or theft. (3) 
If, however, he is unable to pay his due to the King {i.e. 
to pay his mulct) let him fulfil the rest of the points 
aforesaid, and in the same peace pass forth of the realm 
until he shall be reconciled to the King. (4) Further- 
more it was enacted that if anyone accused of theft or 
robbery fled to the church, saying that he had fled to the 
church because he feared the exercise of over-hasty power 
{potestatem temerariam), and that he wished to prove his 
innocence, and purge himself according to the law, let 
him go in peace to the court of our Lord, the King, and 
there let him find borghs and pledges {fidejussores et 
vadimonid) to him by whom he has been accused, according 
to the custom of the realm. And if he shall purge 
himself according to the law of the realm let him abide 
in peace. (5) But if he shall be justly and legally con- 
victed of the crime of which he has been accused, let him 
undergo the penalty due to such ofi^ence according to the 
law of the realm. (6) But if any of these flee to the 
church professing his innocence, and his inability through 
poverty to find borghs or pledges, he shall purge himself 

^ View of the State of Europe during the Middle Ages, vol. iii. p. 302. 
-The provisions of the Act in its Latin form seem to apply to parish 
churches in general rather than to the more highly privileged sanctuaries. 


in any place that shall seem safe and suitable in the opinion 
of the King or the Bishop. If he is found innocent, let 
him abide in peace ; and if he is found guilty, let him 
undergo the sentence that is due. (7) Moreover homi- 
cides, and such as have broken their fealty to their feudal 
lords {traditores dominorum siiorum), and those who have 
been accused of murder, or breach of fealty {traditionem), 
let them be lawfully accused, and if the accused flee to 
the church let the prescript law be observed.^ 

From the Statutes (1371) of Robert II. a manslayer is 
bound, after being duly summoned, to come forth from 
the immunity of the church in order to have the question 
legally decided whether his offence was murder and fore- 
thought-felony, or only homicide by chance-medley {per 
chaud-melle). In the former case he was to be banished 
the country for ever ; in the latter he was to be restored 
to the protection of the Church. The Church's claim to 
protect the criminal from capital punishment was thus 

In the Parliament of James III. in 1469 it was enacted 
that when the committer of slaughter, trusting in the 
immunity of ' halie Kirk and Girth,' fled to a sanctuary, 
the Sheriff was to come to the Ordinary, or, in places 
exempt, ' to the maisters of the Girth,' and inform them 
that such a man had committed such a crime on fore- 
thought-felony, ' for the quhilk the lawe grantis not, nor 
leavis not sik personnes to joyis [enjoy] the immunitie 
of the Kirk.' The Sheriff is to require the Ordinary to 
grant an inquiry ' on fifteen days ' by an assize whether it 
be forethought-felony or *suddantie' (the chaud-melle of 
the Statute of Robert II.). If it be found forethought- 
felony, he is to be punished according to the King's laws, 
while if it be found ' suddantie ' he is * to be restored 
againe to the freedome and immunitie of halie Kirk and 
Girth.' Before the removal of the accused from the pro- 
tection of the Church the Sheriff is to find good surety 
to the Ordinary or the master of the Girth.^ 

The law, however, as so laid down, was sometimes 
defeated through excuses of the masters of Girth, being 
* spiritual men' (and so claiming exemption from the 

i^f/. Pari. i. 401. "^Ibid, i. 548. ^ Ibid. ii. 95, 96. 


requirements of the law in this respect). For this reason 
it was enacted in 1535 that 'all Maisters of Girthes 
within this Realme make sufficient responsal men, Baillies 
or Maisters of Girthes under them, dwelland at the saidis 
Girthes or near therby.' These persons, not being ecclesi- 
astics, if they failed to deliver up the accused according 
to the law, were to be rigorously punished, for their 
contempt, both in their bodies and goods. ^ 

In 1567 a Commission was issued to deal inter alia with 
the subject of those who ' pass to the horn and enter into 
girth.' - But this brings us beyond our limits. 

'^ Act. Pari. ii. 348. In the Statutes (or Jssisae) which claim to be 
those of King David, and which, whatever be their real origin, bear the 
stamp of antiquity, we find an enactment for the protection of persons 
craving the King's peace, whether in Girth, or elsewhere. If anyone 
raises his fist to strike the suppliant, and the offence be proved on the 
evidence of two trustworthy men, the offender shall pay four cows to the 
King, and one cow to him whom he would have stricken. If the blow 
is actually struck (but without effusion of blood) six cows are to be 
paid to the King, and two to the person struck. If blood is drawn, 
nine cows were to be paid to the King, and three to the person wounded. 
If death follows on the blow, twenty-nine cows and one heifer {colpindach) 
are to be paid to the King, and satisfaction shall be made to the relations 
of the dead man 'according to the assise of the land' {Act. Pari. i. 320). 
Mr. E. W. Robertson {Scotland under her early Kings, vol. i. p. 258) reads 
as in the Ayr MS., 'XX'^' (that is 180) for 'XXIX,' for ' 180 cows 
(nine times twenty) were paid as manbote for homicide throughout 
Scotia.' The emendation, which had been previously suggested (see 
Act. Pari. Scot. i. 279) is probably correct. The term Girch-hoill 
or Gyrthol (see Act. Pari. Scot. i. 279) is spelt very variously in the 
MSS. Among the variants are Girthstoll, Gritstol, Gyrsil, and Gyrsyld. 

"^ Act. Pari. Scot. iii. 30. 




The revenues of the Church were derived from lands, 
from teinds, and from offerings, — some of the latter 
coming in time to be regarded as ' dues,' and some of 
them purely voluntary. Of each something will be said. 

The lands of Scotland held by the Church (including 
the monasteries) were wide in their extent. That extent 
can be roughly estimated by an examination of the records 
of the spoliation of the Church at the time of the 

We have seen that the parish churches were ordinarily 
endowed with a portion of land. The earlier records 
show that a ploughgate was often a common endowment 
of a parish church in the south. In the north-west a half- 
davach, which was equal to two ploughgates, is a frequent 
measure of the land of the parish church. ^ 

The nature of the tenure of church lands was in many 
cases of the most favourable kind. A grant in frankal- 
moigne, or, more fully, in liberam, puram, et perpetuam 
eleemosynam^ was the most coveted of the feudal tenures. 
The lands were freed by such grants (when made without 
reservations) from all the burdens of secular service, often 
extremely onerous. By such tenure most of the episcopal 
and monastic lands, as originally granted, were held. 

^ See Keith's History of Affairs, etc. (Lawson's edit.), iii. 369-388 and 
the Book of tAssumptions. 

2 See, for example, Reg. Morav. p. 2. 


The question has been raised as to whether a grant in 
frankalmoigne freed the holders of the land from military 
service when called for by the Crown. The soundest 
opinion seems to be that tenants in frankalmoigne were 
freed from all secular exaction and service, except, 
probably, what services arose under the trinoda necessitaSj 
or the obligation to join a general levy to resist foreign 
invasion, to assist in the building of the king's fortresses, 
and to assist in the construction and repair of the king's 
highways and bridges. But such tenants were freed from 
the ordinary burden of exercitus^ or hosting, i.e. the 
sending a certain number of fully armed men each year 
to the king's host, where they were to be maintained at 
their own cost for the space of forty days. 

It is plain that freedom from the obligation to render 
military service to the Crown could be granted only by 
the Crown. Hence when private persons desired to make 
a grant to the Church in frankalmoigne, such grant had to 
be confirmed by the Crown, or else, as is not uncommon, 
the grantor undertook to be himself still responsible for 
the onus exercitus. Thus, the Earl of Buchan in 1272 
endowed an alms-house at Turreff, and after specifying 
with customary exactness the lands intended for the 
maintenance of the master, chaplain, and alms-men on his 
foundation, pledged himself to be responsible for all the 
obligations due by the lands such as hosting, aids, 
customs and exactions.^ Again, Fergus, brother of Earl 
Robert of Strathern, bestows certain lands on the monks 
of Lindores in liberaniy puram., et peipetuam eleemosynam.^ 
and adds ' we shall make it [the land] free of hosting, and 
of aids, and of all service and exactions.'- After the time 
of David I. a growing disinclination shows itself on the 
part of the kings of Scotland to cripple their power by sur- 
rendering in any way their right to demand attendance at 
the hostings. Thus, King Malcolm, on an occasion when 
there were special reasons why he should be generous, 
grants the lands of Conclud to the Bishop of Glasgow and 

^Reg. Jberd. i. 31. 

"^Chartulary of the Mbey of Lindores^ p. 27. Other similar under- 
takings to free the abbey from secular burdens will be found in the 

LANDS 157 

his successors, but with the reservation, ' salvis exercitibus 

As donors who held direct from the Crown were 
required to have the confirmation of the Crown when 
making a grant of land in frankalmoigne, so in cases when 
the donor held of an over-lord inferior to the Crown, a 
confirmation of the grant by the over-lord was of course 
necessary. Thus, Amabel, wife of Norman of Leynal, 
made a grant of the lands of Scaithmore to the nuns of 
Coldstream, in liberam^ puram, et perpetuam eleemosynam. 
But Patrick, Earl of Dunbar, who was Amabel's superior, 
in his confirmation substitutes for the more favourable 
grant the simple words in perpetuam eleemosynam^ and then 
adds the clause, salvo servitio meo. By this change and 
addition it is implied that the feudal services due to him 
from the lands while in the possession of Amabel were 
still to be rendered by the new holders.^ 

In such cases holding in frankalmoigne practically came 
to mean freedom from rent, but not freedom from feudal 

Occasionally we have instances in which the bishops 
exchange lands held in frankalmoigne for lands burdened 
in the usual way. In this manner tenants of ecclesiastics 
are found liable to the ordinary feudal obligations. Thus, 
Alexander II. granted in exchange three davachs of land 
to the Bishop of Moray to be held in liberam et perpetuam 
eleemosynam ; yet the land was burdened, as it had been 
formerly burdened, with forinsec service in exercitu? 
Among the statutes ascribed to a Parliament of Alexander 
II., in 1220, there is a record of the penalties due from 
those on the lands of * bishops, abbats, barons, knights, 
and thains,' who remained at home and came not to the 
host of the king at Inverness when he was ' in hosting 
against Donald Nelson.' * But on the whole the Church 
in Scotland seems to have had large advantages in this 
respect over the Church in England. 

It is necessary to note carefully the reservations and 
limitations to be found in saving clauses of grants made 
in frankalmoigne. Thus, a grant is made in the fullest 

^Reg. Glasg. i. p. 16. '^ Chart, of Priory of Coldstream, pp. 3-5, 

^Reg. Morav. 31. ^ Jet. Pari. i. 398. 


terms by Robert I. to the monks of Neubottle ; yet the 
deed contains the obligation of giving suit {secta) at the 
king's Justiciary Court in Edinburgh.^ 

Attempts were made from time to time by feudal 
superiors to disregard the liberties conferred by grants in 
frankalmoigne. In a bull of Pope Innocent IV., of the 
year 1251, one of the evils which the Pope sought to 
redress was that grants made to the Church in perpetuam 
eleemosynam, in which the grantors retained nothing except 
exercitum ad defensionem regni et commune auxi/ium, were 
treated as if they were ordinary feus in the hands of 

More especial attention is to be paid to the terms of 
the charter when the word liberam is wanting. In such 
cases it is very common to find reservations more or less 

It is remarkable that we do not possess, so far as 
I am aware, any record of the amount of military service 
demanded from Scottish bishops and religious houses 
generally. In England it is different. There the amount of 
the servitium dehitum is specified with minute particularity, 
and its variations at diff^erent periods can be noted. From 
the Cartae Baronum and the Annual Rolls may be collected 
the amount of the military service required from most of 
the bishoprics and larger monasteries. For our purpose it 
is enough to particularise a few cases in illustration of our 
subject. Canterbury was assessed at 60 knights ; York, 
first at 7, and afterwards at 20 ; Winchester and Lincoln, 
each at 60 ; Worcester, first at 50, and then at 60 ; Ely 
and Norwich, each at 40 ; Salisbury at 32 ; Bath and 
London at 20 each ; Hereford and Chester at 1 5 each ; 
Durham, 10 ; and Chichester, 4. To these a few of 
the great religious houses may be added : — Peterborough, 
60 ; Glastonbury, first 40, and afterwards 60 ; St. 
Edmundsbury, 40 ; Abingdon, 30 ; Coventry, 10 ; and 
many others with smaller obligations. What these figures 
set forth is not what extent of lands was held by each 
of these feudatories, but what extent was held by knight- 

1 Reg. Mag. Sigi/. i. p. 14, No. 70. 
'^ Rrg. Morav. pp. 334 tF. 

LANDS 159 

service, or, in other words, of how many knights' fees 
their lands consisted.^ 

While in England after the Norman conquest the great 
body of the lands of the bishoprics, granted in Anglo- 
Saxon times, was held of the Crown by the same tenure as 
that of the barons holding by knight-service, in Scotland 
much of the possessions of the Church was held in frank- 
almoigne and, except in the case of a general levy to resist 
foreign invasion, — a time when the maxim holds good 
that necessity has no law, — holdings in frankalmoigne 
were exempt from military service. As regards the 
bishoprics founded by David, the piety of that monarch 
seemed never satisfied unless the Church was granted 
every possible exemption and every possible indulgence. 
In 1309 we find Robert I. granting a charter to the bishop 
and chapter of Brechin, which declared their lands and 
possessions to be ' free from all secular service and 
exaction,' and at the same time provided that the obliga- 
tions on lands which had been granted to the bishop 
and chapter by various benefactors should be exacted 
but exacted wholly from the founders and benefactors 
{^fundatoribus et infeodatoribus). And the king's officers are 
directed, if the necessity arose, to distrain the head-feus 
of the founders, so that the lands and possessions of 
the Church should be entirely free from all burdens 
and exactions.^ 

The rare exceptions to the general immunity of the 
cathedrals and religious houses of Scotland only help to 
emphasise the contrast with the state of things in England. 
Thus, the monks of Melrose held lands at Halsington 
in the Merse for the twentieth part of the service of 
one knight, quando commune servicium exigetur per totum 
regnum Scocie? And even in this case it would seem that 
a general levy was contemplated as the only occasion on 
which the demand should be made. 

The grant of land in frankalmoigne, as has been said, 

1 See J. H. Round's Feudal England, pp. 249, 251. 

2 Reg. Brech. vol. i. 9. 

^ Lib. S Marie de Melros, p. 294. The ' twentieth part of the service 
of one knight' points to some form of scutage, or commutation of military 
service for a money payment. 


freed it from the numerous services often demanded from 
tenants by their feudal superiors, and more particularly 
from ' aids,' an especially vexatious form of feudal impost. 
An example of the Church successfully defending the 
church land of Kilpatrick against a demand for an ' aid ' 
made by Earl David, when holding the earldom of Lennox 
in ward, will be found in the Register of Paisley.^ The 
favours thus bestowed upon the Church enabled the 
ecclesiastical holders of land to be in turn indulgent 
lords towards those who held land from them. 

How far the lands of parish churches were held in 
frankalmoigne it is difficult to say. The grants to the 
bishops are frequently in this form, but the foundations 
of the parishes have in almost all cases passed from the 
region of record." 

The parish clergy were discouraged from farming 
more than the croft or glebe in the vicinity of their 
churches,^ and the lands, if of any considerable extent, 
were let for a rent. The bishop's lands were ordinarily 
dealt with in the same way. In the case of the monas- 
teries, lands in the neighbourhood of the house, and some- 
times at a distance, by means of their settlements known 
as ' granges,' were often cultivated by the monks them- 
selves and their men ; and in some cases very extensive 
sheep farms were successfully maintained.^ As is well 
known, Scotland owes much to the agricultural skill and 
industry of the monks. 

The landed endowments of the Church were, alike in 
England and in Scotland, mainly the outcome of the 
devotional sentiment of private persons. The grants 

iPp. 166-8. 

2 The records of the sixteenth century exhibit tacks of land made 
by the bishops sometimes burdened expressly with the condition * to 
serve the bischop in the king's weris ' or ' faciendo servitia consueta in 
guerris seu exercitibus regiis.' See Reg. Morav. 392, 393. 

^In the assize of King William it was enacted that ecclesiastics should 
live upon the fruits, rents, and emoluments of their church, and not 
be husbandmen, shepherds or merchants. ^.P. i. 382. 

* An excellent account of the possessions and agricultural labours 
of the monks of Melrose Abbey will be found in Cosmo Innes's Sketches 
0/ Early Scotch History. 

LANDS i6i 

made by kings were the grants of those who at that 
time could hold lands and dispose of them with as 
much freedom as any of their vassals. The lands of 
the Church can in no reasonable sense be regarded as 
' State endowments.' The gifts of kings, though these 
formed by no means the larger part of the possessions 
of the Church, must be considered exactly in the same 
light as the gifts of any of their poorest subjects. The 
action of the State, when the State interfered at all, was 
solely to provide that grants made to the Church should 
not carry with them any privilege which would exempt the 
lands granted from the obligations which were due from 
them to the State. 



I. Classification of Teinds. 

Tithes, or teinds, as they are called in the Scotch 
tongue, constituted a large proportion of the revenues 
of the Church. Teinds (decimae)^ as the word was 
ordinarily employed, signified tenth parts of what was 
lawfully acquired year by year, either from the fruits of 
the earth and the produce of animals, or from the out- 
come of labour, skill, industry and commerce. Tithes 
were divided by the canonists into real and personal. The 
former consisted almost entirely of the crops and the 
young of domestic animals, together with wool, milk, 
butter and cheese. As products of the farm {predium) 
they are often spoken of as predial tithes. The latter, 
or personal tithes, are the tenths of the profits of 
industry, trade and the skill of the artisan.^ 

It is perhaps well to explain here a few other technical 
terms that occur in connexion with this subject in the 
medieval records. Garbal tithes {decimae garbaruni) were 
the tithes of the sheaves {garbae) of all kinds of corn 
or grain {bladum), wheat, bear, oats, etc. These tithes are 
sometimes spoken of as the great tithes {decimae majores) 
as distinguished from the tithe of the young of sheep, 
kine, and other animals, of milk, butter, cheese, wool, etc., 

1 Wc find tithes cbssified as 'predi.-il, personal, natural and industrial' 
in a writ of Patrick Painter, Abbot of Cambuskenneth, in 1516. Act. 
Pari. ii. 390. 


which are named the small tithes {decimae minores). In most 
parishes, though not in all, the tithe of grain formed much 
the more valuable part of the revenue derived from tithes. 
During the medieval period it was the accepted doctrine 
that the payment of these tenths to the Church \vd.sdejure 
divino. Men often grumbled at paying their tithes, and 
often sought in various ways to evade the payment. 
Sometimes the ecclesiastical authorities had occasion to 
complain of ' sons of perdition,' as they styled them, 
who secreted their tithes, or retained them by force. And 
the ' ages of faith ' present the spectacle of a constantly 
repeated struggle between the clergy and their unwilling 
parishioners. But Scotland was in this respect by no 
means singular. If England differed in this matter 
from Scotland, it was mainly in the greater vigour of \Xs 
opposition to this ecclesiastical impost, and perhaps in 
the greater ingenuity exhibited in evading it. But, all the 
same, it was left to a later age to question the soundness 
of the theological position on which the ecclesiastics based 
their claim.^ 

2. Payment of Tithes enforced by Ecclesiastical Censures. 

There is an accumulation of proof that a good deal of 
pressure, of one kind or another, was required to secure 
the payment of teinds. It is unnecessary to cite any of the 
numerous Papal Bulls enjoining the payment under pain 
of various ecclesiastical censures, culminating in excom- 
munication. These spiritual terrors were held before the 
eyes of the people by the solemn ' publication and 
fulmination,' four times a year in every church, of what 
was known as the 'general excommunication.' - 

1 The obligation of the payment of tithe was admitted by all. But 
many among the greatest of the schoolmen, as Aquinas, and Hales, and, 
notably, our own Scottish John Major, held that the determination of 
the particular proportion — the tenth — was directly only authoritate 
ecclesiae, and indirectly by divine authority. The references to these 
and many other authorities will be found in John Selden's memorable 
Historic of Tithes, chap. vii. Selden makes particular mention of the 
fulness with which Major discusses the subject. 

2 One group of the Scottish church-statutes of the thirteenth century 
enjoins the publication of the general excommunication four times a 
year ; another only three times. S.E.S. ii. p. 59 and p. 24. 


Among the classes of grievous offenders 'cursed' on 
these occasions, with all the solemnities of bell, book, 
and candle-light, were (to adopt the vernacular form as 
it appears in the Missal of Arbuthnott^ p. Ixxi) * Al fals 
teyndaris. And al thaim that halds or gerris hald thar 
awne or otheris mennis teyndis, outher be strynth, 
sutelte, or mvcht fra thaim that sulde have thaim. . . . 
Al thaim that mynysis thair teynd for fraude, or malice of 
thaim that aucht to have it. . . . Cursit be thai syttand, 
standand, rydand, gangand, slepand, waikand, etand and 
drinkand ; in hows and owt of hows. Cursit be thai fra 
the crowne of the hede to the soile fute. . . . Few be 
thar daies, other men bruke thar possessionis . . . thar 
duelling be with Dathan and Abyrone the quhilkis the 
erde swellyit for thar syn. And as this candil is castyn 
fra the sycht of men swa be thar saules castyn fra the 
sycht of God into the depast pot of hel ever to remane 
with cursit Nero the wikkyt emperour, and his cursit 

3. Civil Support for enforcing Payment. 

Formidable as were in those days the terrors of ex- 
communication, it was found necessary to support them 
by royal injunctions. Thus, in the reign of Malcolm the 
Maiden (11 53- 11 65), the king addresses a missive to his 
justiciars, sheriffs, and other officers, at the request of the 
Pope, enjoining as of divine institution the payment in full 
of teinds from all sorts of farm produce, including grain, 
wool, flax, calves, lambs, foals, kids, and young swine, 
together with butter and cheese. The royal injunction 
further directs that if anyone presumes to detain the 
teind, the sheriff should amerce him of the king's forfeit 
[forisf actum), viz. twelve kine, and compel the detained 
teind to be paid in full. If the sheriff is found to connive 
at the fault, the justiciar is to exact the king's forfeit from 
the sheriff, and to compel the full payment ot the tithe. 
This royal injunction was repeated by William the Lyon, 
and by Alexander 11.^ 

Similar mandates were issued by William in respect to 
' Reg. Glasg. i. pp. 15, 70, 116. 


St. Andrews and Moray. In the latter diocese, the Thane 
(Theynus), who at this period appears ordinarily as the 
administrator of crown lands, was to compel the peasant 
(rusdcus, — villanus) to make payment, exacting also as 
forfeit a cow and a sheep. If the peasant had a lord other 
than the king, that lord was to require the tithe to be paid 
in like manner. And if either the Thane or lord was 
negligent, the sheriff was to exact the king's forfeit of 
eight kine.^ 

For a long period of Scottish history it was of scarcely 
less importance, for practical purposes, than the support of 
the Crown, that the great nobles should give effect to the 
Church's claims. As compared with later times the autho- 
rity of the monarch was in some parts of the country 
relatively weak. Accordingly, we find the bishops seeking 
at various times the support of the more powerful of the 
greater barons. Thus, in the year 1225, Duncan, Lord of 
Carrick, solemnly promises in the presence of the Bishop 
of Glasgow, at an assembly of the clergy held at Ayr, that 
not only will he himself pay his teinds in full, but that he 
will compel his vassals (^homines) and tenants to pay their 
teinds in like manner ; and if that any resist he will lend 
the clergy a helping hand {manum apponet adjutrkem). 
He further promises that if any of his vassals or tenants 
be excommunicated he will, after forty days have passed 
without amendment, confiscate their goods. An engage- 
ment in like terms was made the following year (1226) by 
the Earl of Lennox." 

There survives, in the Register of the bishopric of 
Aberdeen, an interesting example of the actual infliction 

^ t4cts of Parliament, i. 90. 

'^Reg. Glasg. i. pp. 117, 119. In each of these two instruments we 
find the promise that ' he (the feudal superior) will not exact from the 
said clergy any corredy for work done by his Serjeants, who are called 
kethres,' {corredium ad opus servientium, qui kethres nuncupaniur, a clericis non 
exiget memoratis). Gorredy was food and entertainment, or an allowance 
in lieu thereof. And the meaning seems to be that the bailiffs, or armed 
retainers of these nobles, were to enforce the payment of tithes without 
any charge on the clergy. The word kethres appears to be of Gaelic 
origin (see Jamieson's Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language, s.v.) 
and its use in this connexion points, as I would conjecture, to the em- 
ployment of Highlanders for this kind of service. 


of excommunication upon a large number of the inhabi- 
tants of the lordship of Fermartyne for their neglecting to 
pay ' second tithes ' (of which something will be said 
hereafter) to the Bishop of Aberdeen. The lordship had 
been granted by King Robert II. to his eldest son, the 
Earl of Carrick, who in turn granted it to Sir James de 
Lyndesay, Lord of Crawford. While the lordship had 
been in the Crown a tithe of the rents of the tenants had 
been paid to the bishops of Aberdeen ; but, apparently, 
after the transfer of the land the sheriffs considered 
that they were no longer required to compel payment. 
And, as a matter of fact, the tenants on the land had 
made no payment for three terms. Whereupon Adam 
de Tynningham, Bishop of Aberdeen, excommunicated 
Lyndesay 's bailie and collector of rents and more than 
fifty of the tenants (the names of all whom are recorded). 
Solemn pledges were given that they would amend their 
ways ; and the culprits appeared before the bishop in the 
chapel of his manor of Rane on 9th March, 1382-83. He 
then compelled them to swear that they would submit for 
their offences to whatever penance was enjoined, and, 
having received their oaths, he gave them absolution 
according to the rites of the Church. This done, he rated 
them soundly, and frightened them by pointing out that 
by reason of their having received the Eucharist at the 
preceding Easter, while yet excommunicated, they had 
fallen under grave suspicion of heresy. He told them 
that they were in strictness bound to appear before him in 
the Cathedral of Aberdeen on the Thursday in Holy 
Week, or some other solemn holy day, barefooted, and 
bareheaded, and without their girdles, each with a candle 
in his hand, and there, in the sight of all the people, 
humbly to seek absolution from him. But, as of 
grace, he would not on this occasion inflict this punish- 

4. What Things were Tithable. 

Notwithstanding the threats of the Church and the^ 
penalties enforced by civil authorities, the collection ot 

^ Reg Ep. ,1hcrd. i. 163-166. 


the teinds of the farm was, as we shall see, very often a 
troublesome task. 

The predial teinds were exacted, as it is put by one of 
the statutes of the Scottish Church, ' on all things that are 
renewed (innovantur) ' from year to year. Under this 
denomination were included the young of sheep, kine, etc., 
grain of all kinds {hladuni), hay, flax, garden produce, and 
the produce of fruit trees. In 1399 a question arose as to 
whether it was to the Bishop of Moray or to the Vicar of 
Elgin that the tithe of the leeks and kail growing in the 
gardens in the town of Elgin was justly due.^ 

Among tithable things that do not readily come under 
the definition given above were peats and underwood 
{silva cedud)? 

The tithes of living creatures include the young of kine, 
sheep, goats, swine, and horses ; barn-door fowl and geese, 
together with (as products of living things) eggs, milk, 
butter, and cheese.^ Wool, as a thing ' renewed ' every 
year, was tithable, and was a valuable source of revenue. 

Tithe was exacted on fish, whether caught in the sea or 
in rivers. The law of tithe extended to the spoils of the 
chase. Even hawking {aucupatio), as we are expressly 
told, was bound to pay its toll of tithe.* I have been 
surprised not to find pigeons expressly mentioned in the 
Scottish statutes. In England they were tithable. And, 
though not expressly named, there is no reason to 
suppose that in Scodand they were exempt. The absence 
of reference to pigeons perhaps points to the ' dow-cot ' 

'^Reg. Moral', pp. 213, 328. 

'^S>ilva cedua has been sometimes, but quite incorrectly, explained as 
fallen timber. We are so fortunate as to possess a definition of the term 
as given by the Council of London in i 344. ' Declaramus provisione 
concilii, sylvam ceduam illam fore, quae cujuscunque existens generis 
arborum in hoc habetur, ut caederetur, et quae etiam excisa rursus ex 
stipitibus aut radicibus renascatur.' W.C. ii. p. 705. Bilva cedua, then, 
includes coppice-wood, and 'loppings and toppings.' In many places 
faggots of underwood would be a large part of the fuel. In England the 
statute, 45 Edw, III, c. 3 enacts that timber trees of over twenty years' 
growth were not tithable. 

3 Geese are not very often mentioned, but we have ' puUi aucarum 
decimantur' at S.E.S. ii. 44. 

^S.E.S. ii. 21. 


being a less frequent adjunct to a large house than It came 
to be in subsequent times. 

It is unnecessary to inquire whether the tithe of mills, 
which was always eagerly claimed, comes under the head 
of real or personal tithes, or whether, to adopt a classification 
of some canonists, it is to be regarded as * mixed.' We 
are not engaged in investigating the principles of Canon 
Law : it is enough for us to know that the claim for the 
tithe, though often resisted, was everywhere insisted on. 

5. Personal Tithes. 

Coming to purely personal tithes, the rule was that the 
profits of the mechanical arts should be ascertained on 
oath. But necessary expenses were deducted in estimating 
the profits.^ A special provision was made in the case 
of poor labourers, who worked for hire at wages of half 
a mark or less, that it would suffice to exact three 
* oblations.'" How we are to interpret this provision is 
not at all obvious. It may possibly mean that the clergy 
were to be content with the offerings, or oblations, that 
were required to be made at mass on the festivals of 
Christmas, Pasch, and Whitsunday. But this would be 
equivalent to not exacting any tithe, for all persons had to 
make their oblations at the three great festivals. The 
minimum oblation on these occasions appears to have 
been a halfpenny (obolus)^ and perhaps what is meant is 
that the poor labourer was not required to give more 
than a halfpenny on three separate occasions.^ That the 
oblations referred to in the Scottish statute were distinct 
from the required oblations at the festivals seems to be 
supported by an ordinance of the Council of Ferns (in 
Ireland) held in the year 1240.* 

^S.E.S. ii. 44. -S.E.S. ii. 23. 

^The Lambeth MS. reads obulos for oblationes ; and although I believe 
oblationes is the true reading, it is not improbable that the Lambeth MS. 
gives the sense correctly. 

* ' Praecipimus quod de negotiatione stipendiis servientium (deductis 

necessariis expensis) decimae, ut decimae, non ut oblationes, integre 

' persolvantur ; quia cum sub oblationis specie decimae praestantur ; 

nonnunquam ecclesiae non solum justis decimis, sed oblationibus debitis 

defraudantur.' Wilkins' Concilia, i. 681. 


6. Disputes between Parishes. 

While there could be no disputes as to what parish 
church was entitled to the tithes of corn, hay, and other 
crops, it was very different in respect to the young of 
cattle, sheep, and horses. These might be moved for 
pasture from one parish to another ; and innumerable 
contentions arose between the clergy of neighbouring, or 
other parishes on this subject. Some of the attempts 
made by Scottish synods to deal with these problems may 
here be mentioned. If cattle or sheep were driven from 
one parish to another for pasture, each parish was entitled 
to tithe pro rata temporis^ always provided that no allow- 
ance was to be made to any parish in which the herd or 
flock had been for any time less than a month. The same 
rule applied to the horses of the farm.^ 

Again, if throughout the year animals are herded for 
the night {cubani) in one parish, but are pastured in 
another, the tithes are equally divided between the two. 
But if the cattle are herded for the night in one parish, 
and are pastured partly in that parish and partly in another, 
then the latter receives only one-fourth of the tithe. 
Once more, if a farmer buys sheep with their lambs 
from another parish, and brings them to his own farm, 
he pays the whole tithe of lambs, milk, and wool to the 
priest of his mother church, i.e. the church of the parish 
in which his home is situated ; and the priest of that 
church is bound to settle with the priest of the parish 
where the sheep had been purchased. The proportion of 
the tithe due to each was calculated from the date of 
the conception of the animals to the date when the young 
ceased to suck the dams. These rules correspond pretty 
closely with rules laid down in the synods of various 
English dioceses.^ 

^ Averia is sometimes applied to other animals, such as oxen, employed 
on the work of the farm ; but the word is generally used to signify 
horses for the plough or cart. This signification is retained in the Scots 
word, aver: 

^Compare more particularly the statutes of Durham (1296) and 
of Worcester (1240), IV.C. ii. p. 28, and i. p. 674. See also the Consti- 
tutions of Archbishop Wihchelsey (1305), W.C. ii. 279, and Lyndwood's 
gloss on the same in Provinciale, pp. 197, 198. 


7. Regulations as to Tithes of Fishings. 

Rules had also to be settled with respect to the claims 
of sea-board parishes frequented by fishermen. Fisher- 
men paid the tithe of the fish they caught, not to the 
church where the fish was landed, but to the church of 
the parish where their home was situated, except when 
they settled sufficiently long in another parish to find it 
necessary to procure there some kind of hut, cottage, or 
other dwelling (mansiuncula)} With this statute it is 
worth while to compare the agreement made in 1222 
between the Priory of St. Andrews and the Abbey of 
Dryburgh. The parish of Kilrethny (Kilrenny, in Fife) 
was one of the parishes granted in proprios usus to the 
monks of Dryburgh.- It was agreed that fishermen from 
Kilrethny coming to the harbour of St. Andrews, or 
fishing there, should pay their tithes to their mother 
church, and not to St. Andrews. A rule based on the 
same principle was to apply to the St. Andrews fishermen 
coming to Kilrethny.^ But there were exceptions to this 
general rule. By way of special favour, as it would seem, 
William I. commanded ' all who fish around the Isle of 
May to pay to God and the aforesaid church of All Saints 
of the May their right tithes.-* This was a valuable grant, 
for besides the Scotch fishermen. Englishmen, Frenchmen, 
and Flemings resorted to this neighbourhood for the sake 
of fishing. 

8. Money Equivalents of Tithes. How Eggs, Milk and 
Cheese were tithed. 

The Church, as we have seen, was entitled to the tenth 
lamb, tenth calf, tenth kid, and so forth. But what 
was to be done when, as would often happen among 

"^S.E.S. ii. 23. 

-In 1546 the tcind fish at Kilrenny was held by John Beaton 
of Balfour of the vicar of Kilrenny, * with consent of the abbot of 
Dryburcht and his convent ' who were ' parson of Kilrenny and patrons 
of the vicarage.' j^ct. Pari. ii. 475. 

^ Lib. de Dryburgh, p. 71, and Reg. Priorat. S. Jndr. p. 323. 

•• Records of the Priory of the Isle of May, carta i 2. 


the poorer folk, there would not be as many as ten, 
or when, as on larger farms, the number exceeded ten, or 
its multiples, by a fraction ? The difficulty thus created 
suggested the reckoning of fixed sums of money as 
equivalents to the tithe of each youngling. Were the 
enactments of the statutes of the Scottish Church upon 
this subject exhaustive, or even tolerably full, we should 
possess evidence of great value for determining prices 
in the thirteenth century. We have, however, to be 
content with very meagre information. A halfpenny 
{oholus) was ordered to be taken as the tithe of a lamb, 
or of a sucking pig. A farthing {quadrans) was the 
equivalent of the tithe of a kid.^ Our scanty informa- 
tion from original Scottish sources may be supplemented 
from contemporary ordinances in force in England. The 
Provincial Constitutions of York (1250), and those of 
Canterbury (1305), direct that if there be but six lambs, 
six halfpennies {oboli) shall be paid as tithe ; if there be 
seven, the priest may take the seventh on his paying to 
his parishioner three halfpennies. If there be eight, the 
eighth may be taken on paying a penny : similarly, if the 
ninth lamb be taken, the priest paid a halfpenny. All 
this goes to show that in England, as in Scotland, in 
the thirteenth century a lamb was valued at fivepence.^ 
A calf was apparently valued at ten pence.^ 

In dealing with the tithe of eggs, it was agreed to 
assume that each hen laid twenty eggs in the year, or, in 
other words, two eggs were demanded for each hen.* In 
tithing milk, as was obviously fair, it was ordained that 
the tithe should be sought only for those months when 
the cows or sheep were in milk.^ If a cow's milk was not 
employed for making butter or cheese, but taken by 
the calf, the tithe of its value was estimated at three 
pence.^ If a practice followed in England may be taken 

1 ^.ES. ii. 44. 

2 W.C. i. 698 ; ii. 278. The date oi Regiam Maiestatem is uncertain ; 
but if we may use it legitimately to illustrate our subject we find there 
(lib. iv. cap. 16) a sheep valued at sixteen pence. 

3 5.i:.S. ii. 21. Regiam Majestatem (iv. 31) values a heifer {juvenca) 
at three shillings ; a cow (vacca) at six shillings. 

■1 ^.^.S. ii. 44. ^Ibid.^i. ^lbid.\l. 


to represent Scottish usage, as to which we have, I think, 
no evidence, the tithe of milk (not used for making butter 
or cheese) was effected by giving all the milk of every 
tenth day to the Church. Similarly a somewhat obscure 
statute^ as to the teinds of cheese is to be explained. 
It seems to be assumed that cheese-making extended 
to 140 days in the year. The clergyman took all the 
cheese made during 14 days ; and the teind cheeses 
were to be made when the milk was most abundant. 

It would seem that the price of foals varied so much 
that no fixed sum was assigned as tithe, but the tithe 
was estimated at the price current at the time.^ 

9. Difficulty of collecting Tithes. 

The collecting of the tithes was often attended with 
difficulty when the parishioners were inclined to be 
fractious. The ' reasonable and ancient custom,' as the 
statutes declare, was that the sheaves of cut corn should 
be brought to the barns, and there be tithed. But ' sons 
of perdition ' were wont either to leave the tithe on the 
ground, or, worse still, to scatter the tithe through the 

And when the tithes had been collected the troubles of 
the rector, or vicar, were not necessarily over. We come 
across frequent references to difficulties being put in the 
way of the clergyman disposing of the tithes after they 
had been gathered. In one statute we find a condemnation 
of certain feudal lords {^feudorum dotnini) who forbade their 
vassals buying the tithes from the rectors.'* In remote 
places, and where facilities of carriage to a good market 
were few or none, it was in the power of a feudal superior, 
whose tenants felt bound to obey even his unreasonable 
commands, to impoverish, or ruin the clergyman by 
instituting a ' boycott ' of the sale of his tithes. The 
synodal statutes of Aberdeen direct that those who act 
thus, or interfere with the priest's free disposal of his 
tithes shall be excommunicated by their priests.^ 

1 S.E.S. ii. 46. 2 lytJ. p. 47. 3 /^;^. 2^. 


But it would seem that the ecclesiastical law needed 
to be reinforced by the law of the state. In 1424 and 
1425 the Scottish Parliament enacted that _' na man let 
[hinder] thame [the ministers of haly kirk] to set thar 
landis and teyndis under all payne that may folowe be 
spirituale law or temporall.' ^ 

10. ^estions as to Tithes of Hay and of Mills. 

There is a statute in the body of laws, entitled General 
Statutes of the Scottish Church, which runs as follows : 
' We ordain concerning the tithes, of hay and of mills 
that they be paid in full ; and let those who will not pay 
them after the third admonition be excommunicated.'^ 
The conjunction in this passage of things so little related 
as hay and mills, is, I have no doubt, to be accounted 
for by the fact that the obligation to pay tithes, both on 
hay and on mills, had been questioned. With regard to 
hay, it was alleged that in many cases lands had been con- 
ferred on parish churches with a view to being an equivalent 
for the tithe of hay, which ought not therefore to be 
exacted. That it was not customary, even as late as the 
twelfth century, to pay tithe on hay in the French pos- 
sessions of the kings of England, was declared on oath by 
the barons of Normandy, in 1205.^ And that, at all events 
sometimes, land had been really given to the church with a 
view to escape the tithing of hay is acknowledged in 
Bishop Cantilupe's (Worcester) Constitutions of 1 240.^ _ It 
is not so easy to understand the grounds upon which 
resistance was offered to the tithe of mills. These might 
naturally be regarded as affording as much right to tithes 
as any other industry. Yet we find Pope Alexander III., 
about the year 11 70, directing the Archbishop of Canter- 
bury and his suffragans to compel their people, if need 
were, by the penalty of excommunication, to pay their 
tithes of the outcome of mills, of fisheries, of hay, and of 

^ Jet. Pari. n.Z,c). "^S.E.S. W. z^. 

3 See J. Robertson's note, S.E.S. ii. 265. ^W.C. i. 674. 

^ Decret. Greg. IX. lib. lii. tit. xxx. cap. 5. 


The manner in which mills were tithed was by paying 
a tenth of the multure, if the mills were worked by the 
proprietor, or a tenth of the rent, if the mills were leased. 

The Registrum Episcopatus Moraviensis has preserved an 
interesting document which bears on this subject. It is a 
mandate (a.d. 12 51) of Innocent IV. addressed to the 
bishops of Lincoln, Worcester, and Lichfield, directing 
them to investigate, and, if necessary, to restrain certain 
evil practices which, as was alleged, had grown up in 
Scotland. The young king, Alexander III., was at the 
time only ten years old, and the Pope attributes to his 
guardians those wrongs done to the Church, which he 
deplores. Among the many evils complained of was the 
attempt made by the magnates to prevent the payment oi 
the tithes of hay, pastures and mills.^ It seems impossible 
to say precisely whether the statute, which we have cited, 
preceded or followed the papal mandate. But certainly 
no great distance of time intervened between the two. 

Among minor regulations as to the division of teinds 
between parson and vicar we find the following among the 
Scottish statutes of the thirteenth century. ' The teinds of 
gardens in cities and burghs, whatever be the nature of 
the crops, pertain to the vicar. But the teinds of gardens 
in vills, if growing corn, pertain to the parson ; of other 
crops the teinds pertain to the vicar. Flax, wherever it is 
grown, pertains to the vicar.' '^ 

II. Exemptions from Tithe. 

It is worth recording that several of the religious houses 
were granted by the Pope the special privilege of being 
exempt from the payment of tithe on fallow-land {novalia) 
of their own brought under cultivation by their own labour 
or at their own cost, and from the payment of tithes on 
their calves, lambs, etc.(^<? nutrimentis animalium vestrorum).^ 

^ Reg. Morav. p. 334. The document is also printed in S.E.S. ii. 242. 

- S.E.S. ii. 21. 

^ Reg. Pr. S. Jnd. 80 : Chartulary of Lindores, p. 109 ; Records of the 
Monastery of Kinloss, p. 105-106, etc. On the mc.Tning of nutrimenta 
animalium, see. the note in Chartulary of Lindores, p. Ixxix. More than 
one writer of repute has supposed that it means fodder or pasture ; but 
its true meaning is the young of animals. 


12. ' Second Teinds^ and the Kings ' Teind Penny' from 
Escheats, etc. 

The term * second tithes ' was a name applied to certain 
grants made to the Church, by the king or other feudal 
lord, which were not, apparently, regarded as really 
obligatory, in the sense in which tithes properly so called 
were held to be.^ A charter of highly doubtful, or more 
than doubtful authenticity, assigns the first grant of 
'second tithes' to King David in 1136. But, whether 
the charter be authentic or not, it is likely enough that it 
represents a fact in making David the first grantor of the 
second tithes, or teind penny, to the Church of Aberdeen. 
The term * second tithes' is not indeed used in the 
document referred to, but that which is afterwards known 
as the ' second tithes ' is sufficiently described. Several of 
the successors of David confirm the grants made by him. 
And we learn that ' second tithes ' consisted of a tenth of 
rents payable to the king from his thanages in the shires 
of Aberdeen and Banff, and from other landed possessions ; 
and also of a tenth of fines and escheats of the king's 
courts. Later we find that a tenth was granted from the 
profits arising from certain feudal casualties.^ As the 
matter is put in a confirmation of 'second tithes' to the 
Bishop of Brechin in 1413, the tenth was given 'from all 
and singular profits pertaining to our lord the king . . . 
within the sheriffdom of Kincardine, namely, for ward, 
relief, marriage-tax (maritagium), fines, escheats and other 
issues of the courts of justiciar, chamberlain, and sheriff.' 
And it was further granted that if, in any case, ward, 
relief, and the marriage-tax were remitted by the royal 
favour, nevertheless the Church was not to suffer. The 
* teind penny ' was to be allowed, in such cases, when the 
sheriff was presenting his accounts.^ 

From the same charter we learn that the ' second tithes ' 

1 1 do not feel confident as to this. The lands, no doubt, had already 
paid tithe on their produce ; and hence presumably the term ' second 
tithes.' But fines, escheats, and issues of the courts might be regarded 
as liable to * personal tithes ' ; and the words which speak of their being 
granted or given may refer only to their particular destination, as to this 
or that cathedral, or monastery. 

^R.J. i. pp. 4, 18, 50, 72. ^R.B. i. p. 35. 


of the county of Forfar were paid bv the king to the 
Prior of Restenneth. 

In a charter of confirmation, granted by David II., we 
have a full account of the privileges of the abbey of 
Holyrood, at Edinburgh. From the first foundation of 
the monastery there had been a royal grant of ' the tenth 
part of all profits, escheats and fines from all our courts 
whatsoever, as well from the chamberlain and justiciary 
courts, as from the courts of sheriffs and of provosts of 
burghs, and in any other mode whatsoever accruing to us, 
between the water of Avyn (the Almond Water) and 
Colbravncepeth (Cockburnspath).' ^ The western and 
eastern limits point to the boundaries of the modern 
counties of Midlothian and East Lothian respectively. 
The king also granted to the canons of Holyrood the 
tithe of all the whales, seals, and porpoises - taken between 
Avyn and Colbrandespeth.^ 

David I., the restorer of the Bishopric of Glasgow, 
granted to that see the still more liberal allowance of the 
' eighth penny ' from all his courts throughout the whole 
of Cumbria. This, I take it, means that an eighth of the 
fines, escheats, and other issues of court was to be paid 
to Glasgow.^ There is no question that the ' eighth 
penny' was a grant for which no ecclesiastical obligation 
could be pretended. 

In granting the tithe of fines, escheats, and other issues 
of court, the practice of the kings was sometimes followed 

^ Reg. Mag. Sigi/. i. p. 72. - Cetis et marinis belluis. 

^S.E.S. u. 64. 

^The phrase c/e omnibus placitis r-ieis probably signifies 'from all my 
court?,' but, if it be contended that placita mca is to be taken in the 
restricted sense of the ' four pleas of the Crown,' robbery, murder, rape, 
and arson, the escheats would still be of much value, for all the goods of 
those convicted were forfeited to the Crown. I'he charter in which 
this grant is recorded {R.G. i. 12) bears evident marks of antiquity. The 
eighth penny was to be paid whether that which fell to the Crown was 
' in money or cattle' ; for so we must understand 'aut in denariis aut in 
pccunia.' In other old Scottish charters there can be no question : for 
example, Moregrund, Earl of Mar, grants to the canons of the Priory of 
St. Andrews * ut habeant communem pasturam ad pecunias suas cum 
pecuniis meis.' Reg. Pr. S. ,1nd. p. 247. See also pp. 249 and 265. 

[From 1265 until 1288 the eighth was paid to the bishop of Glasgow 
from the lucrajustic'iaric. Exchequer Rolls, i. 27, 33, 36, 37. j 


by the great nobles. Thus, Moregrund, Earl of Mar, a 
generous benefactor of the Priory of St. Andrews, grants 
the tithe ' de placitis meis ' and also the tithe of the feudal 
casualty of ' reliefs ' {de releuiis meis)^ or the payments 
made by heirs on admission to their inheritance. Simi- 
larly, as we learn from the Chartulary of Lindores^ the 
Earls of Strathern were in early times accustomed to pay 
to that monastery the tithe of their can and rents {de cam 
et redditibus) from Strathern.^ 

13. The Tithe of the King's Can. 

In the records of grants made to the Church by Scottish 
monarchs we sometimes meet with the phrase, the tithe of 
the king's can. The word can, or chan, appears to be 
used in general to signify some custom or due payable to 
the Crown. The can of ships {cania navium, or cana, or 
canmn navium) cannot mean anything else than some tax 
or custom payable on ships at certain ports. The word is 
found in connexion with toll {theloneum), where we find 
the monks of the Isle of May declared by the king to be 
free a cano et theloneo^ et ah omni alia consuetudiyie? 

There was a grant by the king of three marks a year to 
the Priory of St. Andrews towards supplying their dress 
to the canons {ad vestitum fratruni) from his chan of ships 
at Perth.-^ And a tithe of the can of ships which came to 
Aberdeen was alleged to have been given by David I. to 
the cathedral of that city ; and, whether the alleged charter 
of David is genuine or not, the payment was made, and 
the grant was confirmed by subsequent monarchs, and 
appears also in Papal confirmations.^ 

It is plain that can was sometimes paid in kind. Thus, 
before 1153, the king declared that he 'had given and 
conceded to God and the Church of St. Kentigern of 
Glasgow, in perpetual alms, my whole tithe of my chan in 
cattle {animalihus) and swine, from Stratgrif (Renfrew- 
shire), and Cunningham, from Kyle and Carrick, every 

^ Reg. Pr. S. Jnd. p. 247. "p. 27. 

^Records of the Priory of the Isle of May, p. 1 1. 

^Reg. Pr. S. Jnd. p. 57. ^ R.J. \. ^^. a, S^^ 8, etc. 



year, unless when I myself shall come to sojourn there 
and consume as provisions my chan.'^ But it is a mistake 
(into which Mr. Cosmo Innes has fallen) - to regard the 
payment in kind as entering essentially into the definition 
of can. The word simply signifies a tax, tribute, or 
custom, whether paid in kind or in money.^ 

The payment of a tithe of minerals does not appear 
to come under ecclesiastical law ; and grants of this kind 
are to be regarded, like ' second tithes,' as voluntary 
expressions of a pious liberality. Among King William's 
princely gifts to the monastery of DunfermHne we find 
' omnem decimam de auro quod michi eveniet de Fif et 
Fotherif.' ^ 

i/?.G. i. 12. Skene treats of the word, '■ canum,' in his De 
verborurn significattone, and rightly supposes it to be of Gaelic origin. He 
holds that it means ' tribute or duty, as Cane fovvles, Cane cheis, Cane 
aites, quhilk is paid be the tenant to the maister, as ane duty of the land, 
specially to kirk-men and prelats.' 

2 Scottish Legal Antiquities, p. 204.. 

3 For a further discussion on second tithes see Chartulary of Lindores, 
pp. Ixiv-lxviii. 

^ Act. Pari. i. 385. 



Besides the revenue derivable from church lands and from 
the teinds, the parish clergyman received such money 
as was offered by the parishioners on various occasions, 
some of which offerings came in time to be regarded not 
as voluntary, but as ' dues.' Again and again, in the 
Scottish ecclesiastical law, we find the strictest injunctions 
against the clergy making a charge for the administration 
of any of the sacraments. ' Neither sacraments nor sacra- 
mentals were to be sold.' ^ 

Judging rightly that the terrors of approaching death 
would tend to make men more especially amenable to 
pressure, the church legists enjoined that extreme unction 
should be administered freely and without charge.- Even 
at Easter, when the Easter-offering of every parishioner 
was expected, and indeed eventually came to be regarded as 
a * due,' the priest was charged not to refuse the sacrament 
to those who had not made their offering. The injunc- 
tion was necessary, for the statute refers to the existence of 
a practice of certain priests who, at the communion of the 
laity on Easter Day, retained the Host in their hand till 
the payment was made ; as the statute puts it with an out- 
burst of indignation, the priests were thus saying, in 

^ S.E.S. ii. p. 52. Among what were designated * sacramentals ' 
{sacramentaHa) are sacred rites, such as the sprinkling of the people with 
holy water, benediction by the priest at mass, etc. See Ferraris, Biblio- 
theca Promfta, s.v. Peccatum, §§ 47-50. 

2S.£.5. ii. pp. 34-35. 


effect, — in the language of Judas, — ' How much will ye 
give me and I will deliver Him unto you ? ' ^ But 
voluntary offerings were frequent and numerous. There 
were few occasions of importance, when the priest was 
called to perform any of the sacred rites for a parishioner, 
that did not naturally call forth an offering. Marriages, 
baptisms, burials, would each, as was only natural, bring 
in a gift, larger or smaller, to the clergyman. At making 
confession it was not uncommon, at least in England, to 
make an offering to the priest, known as * shrift-silver.'- 

At all events, with regard to some of the rites of the 
Church, we have positive testimony that they were 
occasions of payments to the clergy. In an undated 
charter in the Register of the Priory of St. Andreivs we 
find a munificent gift to Peter of Campania, for services 
rendered to the priory, of the whole barony of Kyrkness, 
with the tithes both greater and less, with many other 
perquisites ; but he was not to be entitled to ' mortuaries, 
oblations, sponsals, purifications, and baptistaria? Similarly, 
in the time of King William, in an agreement between the 
canons of St. Andrews and the Kelledei, while the latter 
were to possess the teinds of certain lands the former were 
to enjoy sponsals, purifications, oblations, baptisms and 

In our ecclesiastical documents we otten meet with the 
word ' obventions ' {obventiones) in descriptions of the 
profits of a parish. It seems usual to signify, in a 
general way, all the income not derivable from teinds. 
The word ' oblations ' {oblationes) came in the technical 

1 ^.EX ii. 40. 

2 Thus, about 1400, in a satirical poem entitled Jacke Vplande (Wright's 
Political Poems, ii. p. 46), Jacke .accuses the parish priests of refusing 
to assoil their parishioners, 'withouten schrift silver.' 

"^ Reg. Pr. S. And. p. 177. The context leaves no doubt as to 
the sense ; and, though rare, instances are to be found of the word 
baptisterium signifying, as Ducange (s.v.) puts it, 'obventiones et reditus 
sacerdotum ex baptismis.' The practice in the medieval Church of 
England of the woman after child-birth giving something to the priest 
on the occasion of the service of purification is indicated in the rubric of 
the first English Book of Common Prayer, where the woman is directed to 
offer her 'accustomed offerings.' 

^ Reg. Pr. S. And. 318. 


language of the medieval Church to be usually confined in 
its meaning to a particular kind of offerings, namely, the 
money offered by the laity at mass.^ The devout 
would offer frequently ; and at the great festivals of 
Easter, and Christmas, and the feast of the patronal saint 
of the church, and sometimes on the feast of the dedi- 
cation of the church, an offering, sometimes called ' the 
mass-penny,' was expected from every adult, or at least 
from every household. The very poor would offer no 
more than a halfpenny (oh/us), and the well-to-do would 
give according to their ability and generosity. In theory, 
all through the medieval period the offerings at mass were 
held to be voluntary, but in practice the offerings on 
the three or four occasions mentioned came to be regarded 
as dues. 

Occasionally the word obiatio seems perhaps to be used 
in a wider sense, as when Richard, Bishop of St. Andrews 
(1163-1178), grants to the prior and canons regular 'the 
oblation of the Pentecostal processions of our whole 
diocese.' ^ 

The offerings {oblationes) of the devout laity at mass 
must have been, in some parishes, a considerable source of 
revenue. And there is no reason to doubt that in Scot- 
land, as certainly in England, at Easter, at Christmas, and 
on the day of the patronal saint of the church, an offering 
from, at least, every household in the parish was expected, 
and, as has been said, came eventually to be enforced as a 
' due.' That it was the custom to offer on other occasions, 
at least in the case of the well-to-do, is evident from 
the household books that have come down to us. The 
poor keep no accounts ; and 1 do not think we possess 
any personal accounts of farmers, or merchants, artisans 
and tradesmen of the burghs till a period too late for 
our purpose. The material for an inquiry into this 
subject is more abundant in England than with us. But 
at least the practice of the royal house can be gathered 
from such books as the Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer 

1 See Lyndwood's Provlnciale, lib. i. tit. 3. ' Specialiter vero loquendo 
dicitur Oblatio id quod in missa ofFertur sacerdoti, quae in praecipuis 
festivitatibus debita et necessaria est.' 

^Reg. Pr. S. Jnd. p. 133. 


of Scotland^ edited by Dr. T, Dickson. James III. and his 
Queen were accustomed to offer each ' ane croune,' valued 
in the accounts at xij shillings. James IV. most 
frequently offered at mass ' ane demy of gold,' valued 
at xiv shillings, and occasionally ' ane vnicorne,' valued 
at xviij shillings, or ' ane angel ' (xxiv shillings). In 
1497, on Pasche day, he offered 'in the mornyng quhen 
he tuk his sacrament . . . xxiij shillings ' ; and ' at the 
hye mes, that samyn day . . . xiiij shillings.' ^ With 
these may be compared the offerings of a great English 
nobleman who was a contemporary of James IV., — the 
fifth Earl of Northumberland. On Christmas day ' my 
lord offered at Highe Masse xij pence, and my lady viij 
pence,' and at Easter at Highe Masse the same sums, and 
' the lord Percy and my yonge masters, every of them 
j penny.' 2 

In the extent of their liberality the Scottish kings 
compared not unfavourably with the English monarchs, 
their contemporaries. In 1502 the Queen of England 
offered at High Mass v j. At Christmas, in the same 
year, she offered v j., and * for her howselle the same day 
XX d' In 1538, Henry VIII., 'at takyng his rights in 
the mornyng ' offered vi s. viij d. And his offering at 
mass was occasionally xx s? It would be interesting to 
possess a record of the offerings at the altar of Scottish 
kings at an earlier date, but such records are wanting. 
Edward I., during his warlike visits to Scotland, continued 
to give his usual oblation of seven shillings at the mass.^ 

1 Canon Simmons has pointed out that 'a sum was paid on each 
occasion by communicating independently of what may have been given 
at the offertory.' Lay-Folks Mass-Book (Early English Text Society), 
p. 239. This payment was said to be * for the howselle' or *at the how- 
selling,' as in the passage about to be cited with respect to Elizabeth 
of York. 'Taking one's rights' was also used for 'being howselled ' 
or communicated. Thus, James IV., on 'Payee Day,' 1491, offered 
xviij s. 'quhen he twke his rychtis in the mornyng.' ^{ccounts of the Lord 
High Treasurer, p. 198. 

2 ,Archaeologia, xxv. pp. 320-323. 

^ See the Privy Purse of Elizabeth of 2'ork (Nicholas), p. 27, and 
Privy Purse, Henry VUl. pp. 371, 140. 

* So it was at Kirkcudbright, Dumfries, Annan, and churches in the 
neighbourhood. See Liber Quotidianus Ccntarotulatoris Garderobae, pp. 


We have seen how in the thirteenth century it was not 
unknown for Scottish priests to refuse to give the sacra- 
ment to the parishioners until they had paid their offering 
at Easter. Three hundred years later the same charge 
was made against the clergy. In the Articles sent to the 
^ueen Regent of Scotland in 1558, and sent by her to 
* the haill Prelatis and principallis of the clargie convenit in 
thair Provincial Counsall in Edinburgh,' — the last Pro- 
vincial Synod of the Unreformed Church, — one of the 
subjects that are put forward as calling for redress is that 
' the silver commonlie callit the Kirk richts and Pasche 
offrands, quhilk is takin at Pasch fra men and women for 
distribution of the sacrament of the blissit Body and Blud 
of Jesus Christ, were at the beginning but as offrands and 
gifts at the discretion and benevolence of the givar only, 
and now, be distance of tym, the kirkmen usis to compell 
men to the paying tharof, . . . sua that thai . . . stop 
and debar men and women to cum to the reddy using 
of the sacraments of Haly Kirk, quhile [till] thai be 
satisfiet tharof with all rigor.' ^ 

It was no doubt because of the popular feeling on this 
subject that the provincial council, which at last, but too 
late, sought to reform many abuses, enacted that to silence 
the murmuring of the people, and '• to avoid even the 
appearance of evil,' the vicars of churches should hence- 
forward reckon with their parishioners for the offerings 
{ohlationes) due to the Church (as well as for the small 
tithes and personal tithes) not at Easter, but in the month 
of January, a little before Lent.^ But there is to be 
found no admission that the oblations were not of 
obligation, though it is asserted (as indeed it was in 
theory all through the middle ages) that the sacra- 
ments should be ministered to the faithful without cost 

It is only fair to say that the wiser and more high- 
minded of the guides and rulers of the medieval Church 
were alive to the evil here indicated. The parish priests 

41-43. A penny a day was at this period (i 299-1 300) put to the 
account of the daily oblations of the Prince (afterwards Edward II.), 
and three pence a day for the Queen's daily oblations. Ibid, 45. 

1S.£.S. ii. 148. "^Ibid. p. 174. 


too often yielded to the temptation of enforcing the pay- 
ment of the customary oblations at Easter, when every- 
one of the adult parishioners was bound to receive the 
communion. But this was not with the consent of the 
authorities of the Church. Indeed, it was probably as 
directed against the evil under our notice that in one body 
of Scottish statutes (thirteenth century) we find the pro- 
vision, ' the laity are not to offer and to communicate at 
the same time on Easter day.' ^ It may be added that we 
have in the rule of the great church of Salisbury (which 
was taken generally throughout Scotland as a model) the 
injunction, based on a quotation from Gregory the Great, 
that the clergy were not to receive the oblations of the lay 
people on Easter day, even after the mass at which they 
had communicated, ' because this is a manifest indication 
of avarice, and clearly detrimental to the devotion of the 

Though there might be many priests serving in a 
church, the oblations, by whomsoever they might be 
received, always went to the priest who had the formal 
charge, or cure of souls. Lyndwood says that oblations 
made on the Lord's days, on festivals, or on other 
occasions, do not pertain to other priests celebrating in the 
same church, but only to the curate, that is, the rector or 
vicar. And the reason, he says, is, that the people who 
offer are not parishioners of any but the curate. Yet, he 
adds, custom in some places makes an exception to this 
rule ; and whenever the bishop celebrates in any church of 
his diocese, he, and not the curate, is to have the oblations, 
' for the parish is his.' Lyndwood adds the warning, 
that the bishop should not celebrate too frequently in any 
one church of the diocese, so that the curate might not 
suffer too much in pocket.^ 

In the case of wide-spread parishes, where a chapel of 
ease was necessary for the worship of the more remote 

15.£:.5. ii. 52. 

■~ Sec Frcre's Sarum Customs, p. 162. ' De communione et oblacione 
laicorum in die Paschc.' 

^ Provinc. lib. 11. tit. v. vers. Oblationes. This conception of the priest 
in cure of souls, whether rector or vicar, being the deputy and delegate 
of the bishop, was never lost sight of. 


parishioners, care was taken that the oblations should go to 
the mother-church. And, as a rule, the bishop never 
sanctioned the erection of a private chapel in the house of 
a nobleman or great landowner without securing that the 
oblations made in the chapel should be handed over to the 
parish clergyman. 

It is perhaps well to point out that the law of the 
Church strictly forbade the bishop taking any money or 
recompense, beyond a ' procuration,' that is, his hospitable 
entertainment, for the consecration of a church,^ 

No church or chapel might be built without the consent 
of the bishop. Much stress was laid on this ordinance, 
lest by the erection of chapels, whether for public use or 
the convenience of private persons of rank, the parish 
church might suffer.- 

Several instances occur of the sanction of the bishop 
being sought for the erection of private chapels ; and we 
constantly find the bishop taking security that the parish, 
or mother-church (ecc/esia matrix) should not incur loss, 
and accordingly that the oblations made at the chapel 
should be handed over to the parish church. In several 
cases the chaplain, before he was allowed to officiate in the 
chapel, was required to take an oath of fealty to the parish 
church. Thus, in 1243, Alexander de Strivelin obtained 
license from Bishop David de Bernham to have a chantry 
chapel at Laurenciston in the parish of Egglesgrig (now 
St. Cyrus, in Kincardineshire), but on the condition that 
all oblations and obventions of the chapel should go to 
the parish church, that the chaplain should swear fealty to 
the parish church,'^ and that Stirling and his heirs should 
annually pay, ' in recognition of subjection,' a pound of 

Similar arrangements were made in the cases of the 
chapel at Okeltre, near Linlithgow, of a chapel at Drem in 

1 Decretal. Greg. IX. lib. v. tit. iii. c. lo. 
"-S.E.S. ii. II. 

2 The meaning of the oath is more clearly expressed in the oath which 
the chaplain of W. de Golin, serving ' the oratory and chantry,' at his 
vill of Stevenston in the parish of Haddington, was required to take, 
namely, 'that the Church of Haddington should incur no loss by reason 
of the oratory of Stevenston.' Reg. Pr. S. And. p. 324. 


the parish of Haddington, and of a chapel at Clatyn in 
the parish of Losresch (Lathrisk, in Fife).^ 

In a composition of the year 1320, between the abbat 
and convent of Newbotle on the one part, and the vicar of 
Tranent on the other, it was agreed, inter alia, that the 
vicar should have the ceragia, oblations, and mortuaries.- 
Whether the ceragia at this date were voluntary gifts of 
wax, ad Imninare, from the parishioners, or something of 
the nature of a due like the old Saxon Waxshot, I hesitate 
to say. The word is rare in Scottish record." Conceiv- 
ably, it means here wax paid, as above, by the owners of 
private chapels. 

The Corpse-Present or Mortuary. 

An occasional, and, in some parishes, a considerable 
source of addition to the income of the parish priest was 
the impost known as the ' mortuary,' or ' corpse-present.' 
It was a custom which by long continuance came to 
be regarded as a legal obligation, that on the death 
of a parishioner a gift should be made to the parish 
church. Synodal constitutions both in England and Scot- 
land enforced the obligation ; and in England there were 
diocesan and provincial statutes which laid down rules 
(varying somewhat in different dioceses) as to the mode 
and measure of its fulfilment. 

Among the statutes of the thirteenth century promul- 
gated by Scottish synods we are unfortunate in finding 
only two notices, and those in the corrupt text of the 
Lambeth manuscript. One of these simply lays down 
that ' the most valuable animal of the deceased shall 
be paid to the mother-church for a mortuary.''* The 
other, which the corruption of the text makes difficult 
of interpretation, seems to enjoin the payment of a cow in 

'^ Reg. Pr. S. And. pp. 280, 321, 322, 328. To these examples 
may be added the private chapels in parishes belonging to Lindores. 
See Chartulary of Lindores Jbbey, pp. Ixviii-lxxiii. 

2 Regiit. de 'Neubotk, No. 147. 

2 See Spelman's Glossarium, s.v. ccragium. 

*S.E.S. ii. 47. 


ordinary cases ; and when the deceased had * nothing,' 
and this statement was proved on the oath of two of the 
neighbours, ' the largest and best cloth ' {major pannus 
et melior) was to be given.^ The contemporary ordinances 
of the English dioceses generally direct that 'the second-best 
animal ' — horse, ox, or cow — should be paid to the Church 
when the deceased had three or more animals, the best 
being paid 'to him to whom it is due of right,' that is, 
as the recognised tribute of the vassal to his lord, or feudal 
superior. In the constitutions (1256) of Bishop Giles de 
Bridport, the practice of the diocese of Salisbury is stated 
and enforced. On the decease of any land-holder the 
parson or vicar was to receive melius averium post dommum:^ 
As it seems to me, where the exaction of the best beast 
was not insisted on by the superior, the best beast might 
be claimed by the Church. The payment of this due 
(known in Scotland as the ' herezeld ' ) to the superior 
was a custom well established in Scotland, and one cannot 
but feel some surprise that no notice of it is taken in 
the statutes of the Scottish Church to which I have 
referred.=^ I think it is just possible that at the time 
when the Scottish statutes, which we are considering, were 
enacted, the Church may have laid claim to the best beast. 
At any rate, one may call attention to two sets of 
statutes of the diocese of Sodor (both of the thirteenth 
century), in the earlier of which (1239) it is distinctly 
laid down that ' in mortuaries the best animal {principale 
animal) shall be paid to the Church, be it cow, ox, or 
horse, if its value reaches six shillings, at the least.' ^ But 
in the later (1291) statutes of the same diocese it is 
enjoined that 'of the goods of every deceased person 
the Church shall have the choice of all, except one, according 
to the custom of the neighbouring provinces.'^ 

1 S.£.S. ii. 44. 2;^.C.i. 713. 

3 On the herezeld see Balfour's Practicks (edit. I754)» P- ^99' ^nd 
Craig's Jus Feudale, lib, li. dieg. viii. § 32. The word heriot is the corre- 
sponding term in England. 

^W.C. I. 664. The text, as printed by Wilkins, reads * si fuerit ad 
valorem vi. sol. aut minus.' It is obvious that ' aut ' should be read 

^W.C. ii. 176. 


One of the thirteenth century statutes of the Scottish 
Church enjoins, in the case of the death of one who 
resides in two different parishes, that the church of 
each parish had a right to a corpse-present {corporate 
exenniuyii) and ' umaist claith.' ^ 

The impost of the mortuary was particularly odious 
to the people ; and, as is well known, in the early part 
of the sixteenth century it formed one of the most 
frequent grounds of complaint against the Church. 
Though the passage about to be cited from Sir David 
Lindesay's Satyre of the thrie Estaitis will be familiar to 
some, its importance, in showing how severely this claim, 
together with the demand of the herezeld, bore on the 
poor, will justify its quotation. The drama was acted 
before the King and Queen at Linlithgow on Twelfth 
Day, 1540. 

Pauper, one of the dramatis personae, speaks. 

'Gude-man, will ye gif me your charitie, 

And I sail declair yow the black veritie. 

My father was ane auld man, and ane hoir, 

And was of age fourscoir of yeirs and moir ; 

And Maid, my mother, was fourscoir and fyfteine ; 

And with my labour I did thame baith susteine. 

We had ane Meir, that caryit salt and coill ; 

And everie ilk yeir scho brocht us hame ane foill. 

Wee had thrie ky, that was baith fat and fair, 

Nane tydier into the toun of Air. 

My father was sa waik of blude and bane, 

That he deit ; quhairfore my mother maid great maine. 

Then scho deit, within ane day or two ; 

And thair began my povertie and wo. 

Our gude gray Meir was baittand on the feild ; 

And our landslaird tuilc hir for his hyreild. 

The Vikar tuik the best cow be the heid. 

Incontinent, quhen my father was deid ; 

And, quhen the Vikar hard tel how that my mother 

Was dead, fra-hand he tuke to him ane uther. 

Then Meg, my wife, did murnc, both evin and morow, 

Till, at the last, scho deit for verie sorow. 

And when the Vikar hard tel my wyfe was dead. 

The thrid Cow he cleikit be the head. 

Thair umest clayis, that was of rapploch gray, 

The Vikar gart his Clark bear them away. 

^S.E.S. ii. 44. 


Quhen all was gaine, I micht male na debeat, 
But with my bairns past for till beg my meat. 
Now have I tald you the blak veritie, 
How I am brocht into this miserie.' ^ 

This is a singularly graphic and affecting picture, and if 
it represents the practice of the day without exaggeration, 
it exposes such a measure of heartless cupidity on the part 
of the clergy, that one cannot wonder if the settled 
hostility of the people was inflamed. However it may 
have been at the time in Scotland, it is certain that 
exactions carried to this extent would have been directly 
contrary to the provisions of some of the provincial 
and diocesan constitutions of the Church of England 
in the thirteenth century. Thus, in the provincial consti- 
tutions (1209) of Archbishop Langton it is expressly 
enjoined that when the deceased left only two animals, 
neither of them was to be taken as a mortuary. This 
exemption, indeed, was not to be regarded as of right, but 
only as 'of the pity of the Church.' Other illustrations 
of the more benign and reasonable temper of the thirteenth 
century ecclesiastical legislation on this subject may be 
seen on a reference to the pages of Wilkins' Concilia.'^ 

One thing is certain, that we must not infer from the 
description of the state of things pictured so vividly by 
Lyndesay that the earlier practice of the Church was 
marked by so ruthless a spirit. For it is clear that in 
England the comparatively moderate temper of the thir- 
teenth century statutes had, by the sixteenth, yielded to a 
rigorous and uncompromising spirit of exaction. This is 
made plain by ample evidence, from which it will suffice 
to cite the following passage from the grievances of the 
House of Commons against the clergy in 1530. The 
Commons complained of ' the great polling and extreme 
exaction which the spiritual men used in taking corpse- 
presents or mortuaries. For the children of the dead 
shall all die of hunger and go a-begging rather than they 
would of charity give to them the silly cow which the 
dead man ought [owed] if he had but only one : such was 
the charity of them.' ^ 

^ Lyndesay's Works (Early English Text Society), p. 450. 
" See vol. i. p. 530. ^ (V.C. iii. 739. 


It is difficult to conceive any impost better fitted to 
provoke the hatred of the poor. The origin of the 
custom is obscure ; but it was the fashion to explain it as 
the payment in lieu of the tithes and oblations which 
' through ignorance or carelessness ' the deceased had 
failed to pay during his lifetime. In England the com- 
plaint of the Commons, noticed above, was followed in the 
same year by legislation — 21 Henry VIII. c. 6 — restrain- 
ing the worst of the exactions under the name of 

In 1535-36 James V. urged the clergy to abandon 
insisting on the corpse-present and upmost cloth. ^ And 
in 1558-59 the Queen Regent sent to the provincial 
synod certain articles drawn up by ' sum temporall Lordis 
and Barronis ' in which, inter alia, is urged the abolition of 
' the corpse-presentes, kow, and vmest claith.' 

In Scotland the discontent and indignation to which 
Lyndesay's efi"ective satire gave expression, eventually 
awakened the prelates to a sense of their danger ; and in 
the well-intentioned but belated and futile provincial 
synod of i 558-1 559, an attempt was made to restrain the 
evils complained of. But the effort to reform came too 
late.2 The chief feature of the new statute was the 
exemption of the very poor from the burden.^ 

1 State Papers, Henry Fill. iv. 66-j. 

2 The statute will be found in S.E.S. ii. 167-S. 

2 This opportunity may be taken for suggesting that the true reading 
at p. 168, line 2, is 'pro animali seu mortuario' — not 'pro annali,' etc. 



In the Church of England it came to be the generally 
recognised practice that homage was made to the king by 
the bishop after his election and before his consecration, 
while after his consecration the oath of fealty (juramentum 
fidelitatis) was taken. There is, so far as I am aware, no 
reason to doubt that the same practice prevailed in Scot- 
land. As it is put in Regiam Majestatem^ ' Bishops when 
consecrated are not bound to do homage for their baronies 
held in frankalmoigne {de baroniis suis ekemosynatis)^ but 
fealty only. But bishops-elect, before their consecration, 
have been accustomed to do homage.'^ At the bottom of 
the objection to a consecrated bishop doing homage was 
the ecclesiastical sentiment that there was something 
unbecoming in the acknowledgment by bishops that they 
were ' the men ' {homines) of secular princes, and in the 
ceremonial which required the bishop to place his sacred 
hands between the hands of a monarch, which perchance 
had been defiled by blood.- It was further contended 
that his holding was of lands which being granted as alms 
{in puram et liberam eleemosynani) carried no obligation to 
feudal service. The sentiment was respected ; but the 
Crown lawyers, by requiring homage before consecration, 
went far to secure the substance and reality of what was 
desired. And there were certainly some occasions on 

1 Lib. ii. cap. 64, §§2, 3. 

2 Craig {Jui Feudale, Lib. i. Deig. 11, cap. 10) cites these objections as 
put by Pope Adrian IV. in his contest with the Emperor Frederick. 


which bishops after consecration were required to do 
homage as well as to swear fealty. A notable example of 
this is presented in the case of the prelates of Scotland, as 
well as the earls and barons, rendering homage and 
swearing fealty to Robert 11. on the occasion of his 
coronation (1371).^ 

The acknowledgment by the bishops of the king as 
their feudal superior, from whom they held the temporali- 
ties of their sees, gave rise to claims, frequently put 
forward by the Crown, to the right of disposing (of course 
without permanent alienation) of the temporalities of the 
sees during a vacancy. The king claimed to deal with 
the temporalities of a vacant bishopric much as he would 
deal with the estate of a lay vassal during the minority of 
the heir. And examples are frequent where, as a matter 
of fact, the king makes grants to favourites of the 
temporalities of a see during the vacancy. 

In this connexion we have to notice the claim of the 
king to appoint to the benefices in any diocese during 
the vacancy of the see {sede vacante) if those benefices had 
been in the gift, or, to use the technical term, in the 
collation of the bishop. In making this claim the king 
came into collision with the pope. In 1322 Pope John 
XXII., who was ever eager to extend the control and 
influence of the Roman see, on translating John, Bishop 
of Glasgow, to the bishopric of Connor, in Ireland, claimed 
to reserve to himself the ' provision ' of all benefices 
vacant through this translation, that is, all benefices in the 
bishop's gift which could not be filled during the vacancy 
of the see. 

To the see of Glasgow the pope appointed John de 
Lindsay, and to the canonry at Glasgow, which had been 
held by Lindsay, and was vacated by his promotion, the 
pope nominated, as it would seem, an Italian, Nicholas de 
Guercino. But the king, Robert I., acting on the old 
custom, which acknowledged the right of the king to 
appoint to benefices in the bishop's gift while the see was 
vacant and until the bishop-elect had made homage, 
nominated a clerk of his own, Walter de Twynam, and 
called on the bishop after his return from Rome to give 

^ The instrument notarial is printed in the t4cti of Parliament, i. 546. 


institution to his nominee. The king claimed that he was 
acting in accordance with a * custom in the kingdom of 
Scotland acknowledged beyond the memory of man that 
the king was entitled to present to all benefices, however 
they had become vacant, which pertained of full right to 
the collation of the bishop until he had rendered faith and 
fealty to the king,' There was in this case a good deal 
of friction, and the bishop was placed in an awkward 
position. But the Bruce was not a man to be trifled with. 
And the bishop, after protesting that his act was not to 
create any prejudice to the pope's claim, gave admission 
and investiture to the royal presentee.-^ 

In the middle of the next century the matter of the 
king's rights again came into prominence. And now it was 
thought desirable to have the testimony of the clergy of 
Scotland to the antiquity of the general acknowledgment 
of the claim of the Crown. A provincial council, held at 
Perth in 1457, declared, on the sworn evidence of clergy 
there present, that the king, of ancient and time-honoured 
custom, possessed the right of presenting to all benefices 
throughout the kingdom of Scotland, however vacant, 
which would have been in ecclesiastical patronage had the 
see been occupied, and, it is added with significance, even 
though these had been generally or specially ' reserved.'^ 

After this, repeated Acts of the Parliament of Scotland 
not only firmly asserted the king's rights, as laid down by 
the provincial synod, but enacted formidable penalties 
against any who in derogation of the right of the Crown 
would cause themselves to be ' provided' by the apostolic 
see to any such benefices. The offender was forthwith to 
be deprived of any benefice which he possessed at the date 
of his ' provision ' to the new benefice, and was to be 
incapable of holding another unless he first demitted that 
which he had obtained in contempt of the king's right ; 

^ See Theiner, No, ccccxlviii. and R.G. i. 252, 

^S.E.S. ii. 79. A secular statute of 1462 recites (with some modifica- 
tion) the finding of the provincial council, adding boldly after the word 

* reservata ' the words ' ubilibet in Romana curia.' See S.E.S. ii. 282. 
The provincial council, indeed, extended the king's right to presenting 

* ad electiva secularia etiam si majora post pontificales,' This latter 
provision would include deaneries of cathedrals. 



and further, if the ' quality of the fault ' required it, he 
was to receive condign punishment at the discretion of the 
judge. The clergy of Scotland, though they could hardly 
be so outspoken, were evidently in this matter at one with 
the king and the rest of the Scottish laity. The king 
might, naturally enough, take advantage of the privilege 
to advance his own favourites, but at least these would be 
Scots, and not ItaHans or other foreigners.^ 

It is plain that in the second half of the fifteenth cen- 
tury, quite apart from the infringement of the ancient 
rights of the Crown, the system of papal provisions, and 
their purchase, was exciting a strong feeling of repugnance. 
Scotland, which had long been a most submissive child of 
the apostolic see, and far more subservient than England, 
was beginning to rebel. Before there was the slightest 
breath of suspicion in respect to doctrinal differences, 
Scotsmen were stirred by the venality and corruption of 
the Roman Court. In the Parliament of James III. (1481) 
we find it enacted, 'Gifony person or persons in time to cum 
raisis, or purchasis ony commission of the Sege of Rome, 
to be provided of ony benefice that be fundin vacand, the 
sege of the Bishoppe vacand for the time, the persones 
that raisis, purchasis, or usis ony sik commissiones sail be 
repute and halden as breakers and violatoures of our 
Soveraine Lordis priviledges, and transgressoures against 
the Act of Parliament, and incur the paine conteined in 
the samin.'- This enactment was further strengthened in 

The Freedom of Holy Church. 

Again and again Scottish kings, in Parliament or by 
solemn declarations, pledged themselves to maintain 'the 
freedome of haly kirke.' When we examine what was 
intended, the language resolves itself into a promise to 
secure the church from lay interference with ecclesiastical 
property, and temporal privileges. It was a valuable and 

^ Acts of Parliament bearing on this subject were passed in 1481, 
1483, 1485, 1487, 1488, 1493, 1496, 1525, 1526, and 1540. See ^{ct. 
Pari. Scot. vol. ii. 

-jI.P. ii. 141. ^ /i.P. il. 209-210. 


much needed help aganist the oppression of the great 
nobles. The first act of the first Parliament of James I. 
(1424) declares that the Church should enjoy its old 
privileges and freedoms ; and then, descending to par- 
ticulars, it enacts that no man should prevent churchmen 
setting their lands and teinds.^ In the following year 
Parliament in its first act in behalf of * the freedome of 
haly-kirke' enacts the restoration of wrongly alienated 
church-lands.^ And similar legislation makes its appear- 
ance from time to time. But more important than these 
rather vague declarations was the support given by the 
State in 1443 to ecclesiastical censures. It was enacted in 
Parliament that no person who has broken the Church's 
freedom by notorious spoliation of Church property, or 
has been excommunicated, be received in the king's 
presence, or in Parliament, or * answered in the law of 
judgment of fee or heritage or other cause,' but should 
be ever eschewed as cursed. The State resolved that 
excommunication should be no hrutum fulmen. And 
further, it was enacted that acts of general or pro- 
vincial councils, if published and proclaimed by the king's 
authority, should have the force of law.^ 

The Claim of the Crown to the Movable Estate (bona 
mobilia) of Deceased Bishops. 

This may be a suitable opportunity for calling attention 
to a claim made by the kings of Scotland to take posses- 
sion of the movable estate of deceased bishops. It is not 
easy to see the theoretical basis on which the custom was 
founded. Conceivably it was connected with the doctrine 
that the Crown originally possessed the right to the guar- 
dianship of the temporalities of the see during the vacancy, 
and that this right was abused.'^ 

'^ Act. Pad. ii. 3. '^Ibid. 7. 

^Ib'td. 33. The reference in the act to compelling obedience to Pope 
Eugenius IV. and against the favourers of 'scissione' (schism) points to 
there still being some adherents in Scotland of the Anti-Pope Felix V. 

•^ In the charter of David II. referred to below, only ancient custom is 


A Bull of Alexander VI. (1259) declared that there was 
neither custom nor right for the practice, and strictly 
forbade its continuance. Whatever might be thought as 
to right (Jus), the pope was in error as to the matter of 
fact : custom (consuetudo) did exist. Subsequently, as was 
alleged, bulls were granted sanctioning the practice, if it 
was founded on established custom.^ In 1292 Edward I. 
of England, claiming to be overlord of the kingdom of 
Scotland {superior dominus regni Scotiae\ granted, as a 
special favour in recognition of good and laudable service 
done on Edward's behalf by the Bishop of Glasgow, the 
' concession ' to him that he might grant his movable 
goods by testamentary disposition as he pleased. But it 
was expressly added that this favour was not to be taken 
as a precedent to the prejudice of Edward or any future 
king. In another case, also a special favour, Edward 
granted that all the goods and chattels belonging to the 
Bishop of Caithness at the time of his death, ' which 
according to the custom of Scotland are taken into our 
hand,' should be given to the Prior of Coldingham and to 
the parson of Lestalrik (Restalrig), brother of the bishop 
aforesaid, to be distributed by their hands for the soul of 
the deceased.^ It appears from a papal letter (1291) that 
there had been a custom for the earls of Strathern to take 
possession of the movable estate of deceased bishops of 
Dunblane. The pope (Nicholas IV.) protests against this 
evil practice. The earls of Strathern had long been 
regarded as the special protectors of Dunblane.^ And it 
is interesting to find that on the election of Alpin to the 
bishopric of Dunblane, the pope, when confirming the 
election, addressed concurrent letters to the chapter and 
to the Earl of Strathern, '■ patronus of the church of 
Dunblane.'^ And other examples of this practice can be 
found. ^ 

In an undated charter of David II. preserved in the 
Register of the Great Seal^ and in the Scotichronicon^ the king 

^ Act. Pari. Scot. i. Appendix to Preface, p. 2. 

^Rot. Scot. i. pp. 6, 7, lO. 3 Xheiner, No. cccxliii. 

^Theiner, No. ccclv. * See Chartulary of Lindora, p. xxxviii. 

^' i. p. 77. '^Lib. xiv. cap. 42. 


sets forth that the custom had come down from ancient 
times to his own day, by which all the movable goods of 
deceased bishops were applied to the king's use {Regiis 
usibus)^ so that therefore the power of making a will had 
been wanting to bishops. He declares that he is now aware 
that this custom was manifestly derogatory to the clergy. 
Accordingly, with the consent and assent of his nephew, 
Robert, Steward of Scotland, and his children, and of the 
three estates of the kingdom in full Parliament assembled 
at Perth, he concedes and confirms that for the future 
Scottish bishops shall have liberty to dispose of their 
movable goods by testament, and that if they die 
intestate, their nearest friends may dispose of such goods 
for the weal of the soul of the deceased in such manner 
as may seem to them best. In return for this favour, 
each bishop shall appoint in his cathedral a perpetual 
chaplain to say one mass [ — daily — .?] for ever ' for us in 
our lifetime, and after our death for our soul,' for the soul 
of the king's father, and for the weal of his heirs and 
successors while alive, and for their souls after their decease. 
This mass was to be specially celebrated, and was to be in 
addition to the masses and other prayers to which on 
behalf of the king, his ancestors and successors, they 
were already bound.^ At the request of the Scottish 
bishops, Gregory XL confirmed this concession of the 
king in 1372. 

Notwithstanding the renunciation of the custom by King 
David, with the assent of the heir of the throne, that heir, 
Robert IL, after his accession, did not intervene to prevent 
the recurrence of the old abuse. In 1375, only three years 
after his previous Bull, Gregory issues another Bull, in 
which he declares that certain officials of the king, despite 
the renunciation of David and of Robert himself, had 
taken and appropriated to the royal treasury or other uses 
the movable goods ' of certain bishops and prelates.' 
This 'detestable custom, or more truly corruption,' he 
stringently forbids, and declares that those, although 
(as it is significantly added) ' of regal dignity,' who shall 
hereafter violate his ordinance, thereby incur sentence 
of excommunication, from which they cannot be absolved 
1 Reg. Mag. Sig. i. p. 77. 


except at the hour of death, unless full restitution had 
been made.^ 

As late as 1445 John de Crannoch, Bishop of 
Brechin, then conservator of the privileges of the Scottish 
Church, caused a copy of the second Bull of Gregory XI. 
to be affixed to the doors of the parish church of St. Giles, 
Edinburgh ; and this appears to have been done on the 
advice of the prelates, nobles, and commissaries of burghs 
present at the time in Edinburgh, probably as a prelimi- 
nary to the royal pronouncement on the subject which was 
finally approved by the three estates in 1449. This 
declaration, which the king alleges to have been made 
after the deliberations, and on the resolution of the 
three estates of the realm, is so important in setting 
forth what the king conceded and what he claimed, that it 
is desirable that its provisions should be set forth with 
some fulness. The bishops, present and future, were to 
have full and free power to make their testaments, and 
to dispose of all and singular their plate (clinodia), 
jewels, goblets, cups, spoons, and vessels, whether of gold, 
silver, or gilt. They were also empowered to dispose 
of their corn and other harvested crops, and of their 
horses, cattle, sheep, and other animals, and of all other 
movable property whatsoever. In addition to this the 
very important concession was made that during the 
vacancy of the see the vicar general should collect all 
the revenues of mensal churches and all emoluments what- 
soever pertaining to ' the spirituality,' including procura- 
tions, and should be accountable for them to the 
immediate successor ot the deceased bishop. 

The king, however, reserved to himself the rents 
of church lands, whether paid in victual or money, all 
the 'issues of courts and emoluments of temporal jurisdic- 
tion ' in the same church lands. And this was claimed 
in consideration of the custody of the lands during the 
vacancy and the exercising of jurisdiction in the same. 
The king also reserved to himself the right of present- 

^ Theiner, No. dccx. and Scotic/iron. lib. xiv. cap. 41. The 
expression * cpiscopi et prelati ' suggests that perhaps some attempt had 
been made to seize the goods of the lesser ecclesiastical dignitaries, 
to whom the name ' prelate ' was applied. 


ing to all churches and ecclesiastical benefices which 
by full right pertained to the collation of the bishop. 
The king is careful to explain that his custody of the 
church lands did not give him power to remove the 

Before leaving this subject it is worth while to call 
attention to the current report recorded in the Chronicle of 
Lanercost (p. 97) that Richard of Inverkeithing, Bishop 
of Dunkeld, in the middle of the thirteenth century 
had been poisoned, with plain hint that this was done 
so that the king, Alexander III., might possess him- 
self of the bishop's movable estate. And the chronicler 
goes on to say that Richard and his contemporary, 
' Robert de la Provendir ' {de Prebenda)^ Bishop of Dun- 
blane, outwitted the king by giving away their movable 
goods before their deaths. 

The Spiritual Estate in P arliament. 

In the earliest notices of anything that can reasonably 
claim to be regarded as the great council of the nation, and 
from that time onwards, we all but invariably find the 
presence of some of the leading ecclesiastics. This was 
only natural. Many of the bishops and heads of the great 
religious houses were among the ablest and best informed 
men in the kingdom. They often possessed a knowledge 
of aflFairs, and a breadth of view, gained from acquaintance 
with the world outside the narrow bounds of Scotland, 
which could rarely be looked for among the great 
nobles. Again, after the establishment of the feudal 
system, the position they occupied, not only as great 

^ Occasionally in medieval documents there is a vagueness in the 
distinction between the property of the Church that was counted 
as belonging to ' the temporality ' and that which was counted as belong- 
ing to 'the spirituality.' But generally, as here, tithes and offerings 
were of ' the spirituality ' and rents of church lands were of * the 
temporality.' From this charter it is also apparent that procurations, 
which were originally supplies of food and entertainment for the bishop 
and his retinue when actually travelling on his visitation tours, had 
not only been commuted into a money payment, but were apparently 
held to be exigible even when the bishop did not visit. The royal 
charter summarised above is printed in R.G. ii. 370 and R.B. i. 177. 


feudal vassals, sometimes holding large tracts of land, and 
thus entitled to a seat in the royal council with the 
other barons, but their place as spiritual rulers, gave them 
a power and influence with the people equal to if not sur- 
passing that possessed by the greatest of the nobles. 
Hence both in regard to legislation and to the judicial 
functions of the National Council, the bishops, abbats, and 
priors, summoned to attend the council, and (as it came at 
a later time to be designated) the Parliament, constituted 
an element of the highest value and importance. 

It has been observed by one who was entitled to speak 
with the voice of authority. Dr. Stubbs, that ' the legis- 
lative functions of the national council are [in England] 
under the Norman kings rather nominal than real ; but 
the form of participation [of bishops, abbats and barons] 
is retained.'^ The remark is no less true when applied 
to Scotland under the early kings of the feudal period. 
The acts of the early Scottish kings are customarily 
set forth as enacted either ' with the counsel and assent ' 
of the prelates and nobles present at the time, or what 
practically was equivalent, in their presence. But it was 
only slowly and by gradual steps that the concurrence 
of those summoned to the council came to be acknow- 
ledged as a necessity to valid and effective legislation. 

The spirituality, the first of the three estates of the 
realm, seems to have been regarded at first and under 
ordinary circumstances, as represented by the prelates, — 
that is the bishops, or greater prelates, representing ex 
officio the great body of the secular or parochial clergy, 
and the abbats and priors, or lesser prelates, representing 
the monastic orders. It is an entire mistake frequently 
made to suppose that English bishops were summoned to 
Parliament as barons. In the vacancy of a see the guardian 
of the spiritualities was summoned in place of the bishop. 
What Stubbs has said of England is equally true of 
Scotland. 'The first or spiritual estate comprises the 
whole body of the clergy, whether endowed with land 
or tithe, whether dignified or undignified, whether sharing 
or not sharing the privileges of baronage.' - 

We have, so far as I am aware, nothing suggestive ot 
^Select Charters, p. 17. ^ Cor.stlt. Hist. ii. 169. 


the direct representation of the inferior clergy till we come 
to the time of David 11. Attention, however, may be 
called to unusual features of the great assembly of the 
nation summoned by Robert I. to meet at Ayr in 13 15. 
The question was the vital question of the succession ; 
and both Bruce and the whole people of Scotland were 
profoundly interested in having a really national declara- 
tion, that could not be gainsaid. Accordingly there were 
on this occasion gathered together in the parish church of 
Ayr ' bishops, abbats, priors, deans, archdeacons, and other 
prelates^ of the church, earls, barons, knights, and others 
of the community of the kingdom of Scotland, as well 
clerical as lay.'^ The case was obviously of a highly 
exceptional character. 

Whether this convention of the three estates should in 
strictness be styled a meeting of the Great Council, or 
Parliament, need not be discussed. Certainly under 
ordinary and normal conditions the great body of the 
clergy and religious had as yet no direct representation. 
Occasionally we find some indication of ecclesiastics of 
inferior rank being present at the meeting of the Council. 
But I see no reason to suppose that they were present 
as representatives, or as constituent members of the 

In 1248 Alexander II. enacted an important law 
limiting the right of giving evidence on oath in certain 
cases. The king is said to have made this enactment in 
the presence o^ {coram) certain ' magnates,' among whom are 
the Bishop, the Dean, and the Archdeacon of Glasgow, 
who, let it be observed, are the only ecclesiastics present. 
In the absence of other evidence at this early date for 
anything like a customary, or a constitutional right for 
others than bishops, abbats, and priors forming part of the 
king's council, it would, I think, be extremely hazardous 
to draw any inference from this case.=^ In theory the 

1 The word prelati was occasionally applied to dignitaries of inferior 
rank. Thus Lyndwood {Provinciale, lib. i. tit. 7, cap. Ignorantia, vers. 
Pralati Ecclesiae), ' Hie vocantur Praelati nedum superiores, ut Epis- 
copi ; sed etiam inferiores, ut Archidiaconi, Presbyteri plebani, et 
Rectores ecclesiarum.' 

'^Jcts of Par!, i. 464. ^ Jet. Pari. i. 404. 


sovereign could, no doubt, summon whom he would ; 
and occasions might arise when special reasons would 
make desirable the presence of certain of the lesser clergy. 
But it must be repeated that we lack evidence for the 
presence of any such under ordinary circumstances. 

Till we come to the reign of David II. I am not aware 
of a trace of anything that could have at all resembled the 
' praemunientes ' clause in some of the writs of summons 
to Parliament addressed to English bishops on certain 

The subject of the taxation of the Church property 
of Scotland for purposes of State is involved in much 
obscurity. There can be no question that occasional 
* aids ' were demanded, and granted, in cases of great 
emergency ; but it is not so clear whether the assessment 
was always made by the clergy themselves, or by the king 
in Parliament. Bower informs us that in 1211 William 
held a ' Great Council ' at Stirling, and demanded an aid 
to supply the money required to meet the obligations 
incurred by the treaty made with King John two years 
previously. The nobles promised 12,000 merks, and the 
burgesses 6000. The churches were not taxed. On 
them, says the chronicler, ' they did not presume to 
impose anything.'^ 

In the council held in Edinburgh in 1367 on the 
occasion of finding security for the payment of the ransom 
of King David II., the three estates each bound them- 
selves, severally, to the fulfilment ot the vast obligation 
that 100,000 merks would be paid to England. The 
clergy on this occasion were represented by the bishops, 
acting with the consent of the cathedral chapters. These 
were occasions that partook of the nature of a national 
crisis. But it is of importance to observe that in the first 
case the Great Council did not venture to impose a tax on 
the churches, and in the second the spiritual estate taxed 

Again, under Robert III., Parliament (1398) ordained 
that there be raised a general contribution of 2000 lib. 
' for the common needs of the kingdom.' The ' clergy ' 

^ Praeter ccclesias, super quas nihil imponcre pracsumpserunt. 
Scotic/irotticort, lib. viii. cap. 73. 


* granted ' their part with the following protestation : 
(i) 'that it run not to the clergy in prejudice in time to 
come, nor hurting the freedom of Holy Church'; (2) 
that their part be raised ' by ministers of Holy Church,' 
and that neither the king's officers, nor * seculars intermit 
them in the raising of it.'^ It must be acknowledged 
that this looks very much as though the act of the 
prelates in Parliament was taken as binding the clergy 
of the whole kingdom. Unfortunately we possess no 
list of those present in this Parliament which would 
enable to say whether any of the inferior clergy were 

The closing years, however, of the reign of David 
II. present us with the presence of the inferior clergy 
in Parliament, though in what capacity it seems impossible 
to say with precision. And from that time forward 
they appear with frequency. It was a time of constitu- 
tional change. We find the general body of the prelates, 
barons, greater and lesser, freeholders, and commissioners 
of burghs, when assembled in Parliament, delegating ' the 
holding of the Parliament' to certain of their number. 
What we would in modern style call ' committees ' are 
appointed to deal with different departments of the work 
of the Parliament, and on these committees we, as a 
rule, find certain of the inferior clergy. 

Thus, in the Parliament held at Scone in September, 
1367, the three estates, when assembled, elected com- 
mittees for the purpose of holding the Parliament {ad 
parliamentum tenendum)^ and gave leave to all others to 
return home. In this case the cause assigned for leave 
being granted is that it was the time of harvest {causa 
autumpni). On the part of the clergy were elected the 
bishops of St. Andrews, Glasgow, Moray, Brechin (chan- 
cellor), and Dunblane ; the prior of St. Andrews, the 
abbats of Dunfermline, Arbroath, and Lindores ; and 
(this forming the matter of chief interest in the notice) 
' of the clergy of St. Andrews, the provost of St. Andrews, 
and Master Alexander de Carioun ; of the clergy of 
Glasgow, Sir {dominus) John de Carrick ' ; the proctor of 
the bishop of Dunkeld (being the precentor of Dunkeld), 
'^J.P.S. i. 574. 


the proctor of the bishop of Aberdeen (Master David 
de Mar), and the proctor of the bishop of Ross (the Dean 
of Ross). It appears, then, that beside the prelates, 
greater and lesser, there were inferior clergy acting as 
proctors for absent bishops, and, further, that apparently 
the clergy of at least the dioceses of St. Andrews and 
Glasgow were in some sort represented. 

In the succeeding Parliaments at Perth in 1368 and 
1369, we find a similar course pursued. The record 
of the Parliament of 1368 bears that of those convened 
many compeared in person, some (who were excused for 
lawful causes) appeared by proctors, and a few were held 
to be absent contumaciously. The business was limited 
to five specified points, persons were elected ' to hold the 
Parliament,' and the rest were allowed to retire on account 
of the scarcity of provisions (^propter importunitatem et 
caristiam temporis). We again find several of the inferior 
clergy appointed to act on the committees. Some of these 
were indeed proctors for absent bishops, but this cannot 
account for the presence of certain others. Thus, on the 
committee, or delegation, appointed to deal with legal 
cases on appeal {ad deliberandum super judiciis conlradictis) 
we find on the part of the clergy beside three bishops and 
one abbat, Masters John de Peblys, John de Carrick, 
John de Caron, William de Dalgarnock, and the Arch- 
deacon of Lothian. But special attention must be called 
to the records of the Parliament of 1369, held at Perth. 
It is declared that among those absent per contumaciam 
were * a few of the inferior clergy and freeholders' (^pauci de 
inferiorihus clericis, et liheretenentibus). To be contumaciously 
absent seems inevitably to suggest a formal summons. 

The question at once arises, — Were the inferior clergy 
summoned to Parliament, as the clergy of England were 
on certain occasions } In the reign ot Edward I. we meet 
with the first appearance of what is known as the '■ prae- 
munientes clause ' in the writs of summons addressed 
to the archbishops and bishops. Each prelate is directed 
to premonish the prior (or dean) of his cathedral church, 
the archdeacons, and the whole clergy of the diocese, 
and to cause the prior (or dean) and the archdeacons 
to appear in Parliament in person, while the chapter of 


the cathedral was to appear by one proctor, and the clergy 
of the diocese by two proctors.^ 

I have not been able to discover any trace of the 
praemunientes clause in the records of the Scottish Parlia- 
ments. It certainly is wanting in the form of summons 
(of a late date) addressed to archbishops, bishops, and 
abbats, which may be found in The Acts of the Parliaments 
of Scotland (vol. i. p. 104). And I regret that I must 
leave the subject in its obscurity. From the time of 
David II. we find that as a matter of fact there were 
clergy below the rank of bishops, abbats, and priors, 
in attendance on Parliament. But how they came to 
be there, and whether they were in any true sense repre- 
sentatives (in the sense of elected representatives) of 
their brethren, it seems impossible to say. Some were 
proctors of absent bishops, and some may have been 
officials, clerks, etc., of the Parliament ; but others were 
present who do not appear to belong to either of these 
classes. More than this I am unable to say. 

The number of the inferior clergy varied much, but 
was always small. The Parliament of 1467 may be taken 
as an example. There were present" seven bishops, eleven 
abbats and priors, and of the inferior clergy, James 
Lindsay, keeper of the privy seal, Archibald White, 
secretary, the Archdeacon of St. Andrews, the Dean of 
Moray, the Dean of Brechin, Richard Guthrie, John 
Athilmar, and Thomas Lutherdale. Some of the clergy 
ordinarily appear on each of the committees of Parliament, 
in the fifteenth century, even among ' the Lords of the 
Articles.' But in the sixteenth century they are mostly 
limited to those holding some official position, as e.g. 
secretary, clerk of the register, etc. 

I am led to think that the high standing of some of the 
clergy, as learned and skilled lawyers, versed commonly in 
civil as well as canon law may point to the object for 
which their presence was sought. Among such as appear, 

1 See Stubbs, Constit. Hist. ii. 199, and Gneist, Hist, of the Engl. 
Constit. 396 sq. It is a curious survival of an obsolete form that even 
still the writs of summons addressed to the bishops of England contain 
the praemunientes clause. 

2^.P.S. ii. 87. 


the officials of the bishops, that is, the ecclesiastical judges 
in the consistorial courts, are familiar. 

The attendance of the bishops, abbats, and priors in 
Parliament was not very regular nor very large. But in 
one Parliament or another the presence of the bishop of 
every diocese is on record, as is also the presence of the 
heads of at least the following religious houses : the 
priory of canons regular of St. Augustine at St. Andrews 
(the prior taking by special grace precedence of all abbats), 
Kelso, Dunfermline, Holyrood, Melrose, Cambuskenneth, 
Newbottle, Arbroath, Inchcolm, Holywood (Sancti 
Nemoris)y Kilwinning, Paisley, Lindores, Balmerino, 
Jedburgh, Scone, Crossraguel, Culross, Dundrennan, 
Cupar, Inchaffray {Insula Missarum)^ Glenluce, Kinloss, 
Deer, Coldingham, Restinot, Isle of May, Ardchattan, 
Feme, St. Mary's Isle, New Abbey, Pluscardin, Beauly 
(de Bello Loco), Pittenweem, Monymusk, Fyvie, Inchma- 
home, and Portmoak. 

The presence of the spiritual estate as a constituent 
element in the Parliament of Scotland modifies the sur- 
prise one might be disposed to feel at the boldness with 
which the Parliament at times dealt with matters ecclesi- 
astical. Even in matters relating to the conduct ot 
worship we find examples of the interference of Parliament. 
In 1456 Scotland was suffering from the ravages of the 
plague, and in that year Parliament passed an act, that 
' the prelates make general processions [that is, litanies 
sung in procession] throu out their dioceis twyse in ye 
wolk, for standing of the pestilence,' and further, that pre- 
lates 'grant perdon [i.e. grant an indulgence] to the priests 
that gangs in ye said processions.'^ One ot the most 
remarkable instances of interference of this kind was the 
ordinance of Parliament passed in 1427 for reducing ' the 
expenses and vexations of poor persons litigating in the 
spiritual court ' and for abridging the inordinate length 
of the suits commenced in the said court. It is to be 
observed that the only cases with which Parliament 
attempted to interfere were those in which a layman in 
a civil cause cited a clerk to answer in the spiritual court. 
' The law's delays ' have always (though sometimes very 
"^ Acts of Parliament, li. 46. 


unjustly) been a source of popular complaint. In the 
case of the spiritual courts of the medieval period there is 
only too much ground for believing that the complaints 
were well founded. The Scottish act of 1427 aimed at 
the final determination of a suit between the lay pursuer 
and the clerical defender in the space of forty days. 
Frivolous appeals were not to be allowed ; and the judge 
who allowed frivolous appeals was liable to penalty if con- 
victed before the Ordinary.^ 

But what was even more remarkable than the earlier 
provisions of the act was the added injunction that this 
act should be adopted by the provincial council of the 
Church, which was then in session. As Mr. Joseph 
Robertson remarks, the Parliament treated the ecclesi- 
astical synod as if it were only ' to register the decree.'^ 
Yet it must be observed that the reference of the matter 
to the provincial council or synod was a testimony on 
the part of parliament that the act, so far as it related 
to the clergy, was felt to need the more express indorse- 
ment of the spiritual authority. It does not come within 
our scope to relate the determined contest between the Pope 
and the King of Scots which originated with the passing 
of this act. An account will be found in the pages of 
the Preface to the Statuta Eccksiae Scoticanae.^ 

It was ordinarily only within the borderland between 
lay and clerical rights and interests that Parliament 
attempted to legislate in matters ecclesiastical. Among 
such instances of civil interference will be found the 
attempts of the State to restrain to some extent the 
immunities claimed by the Church for criminous clerks, 
and to limit the privileges (often injuriously abused) of 
persons flying to the Church for protection from the 
consequences of crime. These and the legislation of 
the later period in opposition to the system of papal 
provisions are the most noticeable results of the action 
of Parliament in relation to the Church in Scotland.* 

'^ Jet. Pari. Scot. ii. p. 14. - S.E.S. i. Ixxxi. 

^ i. pp. Ixxxii-lxxxviii. 

•* Towards the middle of the sixteenth century Parliament passed 
certain enactments * to the confusion of all heresy,' and gave the 
support of civil authority to the maintaining of the old faith. By the 


The Conflict of Civil and Ecclesiastical Jurisdictions. 

The medieval Church was vigorously opposed to the 
appearance of the clergy as suitors in secular courts. It 
could, of course, legislate with respect to the clergy when 
the other party in litigation also belonged to the clergy. 
And in this respect its action was stringent. Thus among 
the Scottish ecclesiastical statutes of the thirteenth century 
we find one entitled, ' that a clerk may not be brought 
before a secular court,' the text of which runs as follows : 
' We also ordain that if any ecclesiastical person raises a 
question, either real or personal, against another ecclesi- 
astical person in regard to real or other Church property, 
he shall pursue the process before an ecclesiastical judge, 
and in no wise draw his adversary to a forbidden court. 
But if anyone shall presume to do otherwise, and does 
not desist after he has been canonically admonished, the 
pursuer [actor) shall lose any right that may have belonged 
to him; and the defender {reus^, if he consents [to the 
disposal of the case in a secular court], shall stand 
as convicted. And if they, nevertheless, persist in this 
course, and despise the penalties aforesaid, let them be 
denounced publicly as excommunicate according to the 
sacred canons, and by the authority of the council.' ^ 

In 1392 and 1393 there had been a sharp contest 
between the Abbat of Cambuskenneth and Robert Sinclair, 
Bishop of Dunkeld. In the ecclesiastical courts the 
matter terminated in the excommunication of the bishop. 
But the parties met in the presence of King Robert III. in 
the vestry of the Dominican Church at Perth on 28th 
March, 1395. What happened then we do not know, 
but we find the king granting a certificate that the abbat 
had not summoned the bishop before the king, and that 
he (the king) was not sitting judicially ." 

Parliament of 1540, death and the confiscation of goods movable and 
immovable was the punishment of anyone who impugned the Pope's 
authority. And acts were passed 'for the honour of the Holy Sacra- 
ments ' and ' worship to be had to the Virgin Mary,' and against private 
conventions held to dispute on the Holy Scriptures. And in earlier 
times acts (less specific in detail) were often passed against 'heretiks.' 

"^Z.E.Z. ii. 20. - Chartulary of Cambuskenneth, 31S. 


The Church was not less opposed to the clergy being 
brought before secular courts by the laity. The struggle 
on this subject, which in England was long protracted and 
was attended by varying fortunes, forms an interesting 
and important chapter in the history of the constitutional 
law of that country. As in other matters of dispute 
between the Church and State in Scotland the contest 
here was on a smaller scale, and the State showed itself 
less disposed to assert itself. What was known as 
* benefit of clergy ' (^privilegium clericale) was generally 
allowed. In most cases any clerk (and the term was 
extended eventually not only to those who had received 
the tonsure but to those who could read) might claim to 
be remitted to the court of his ecclesiastical superior. 
The system of replegiation in the secular courts made 
such claims appear in no way extravagant. The ecclesi- 
astical judge was bound to do justice in the case, and the 
accused, if convicted, received sentence from the spiritual 
judge. If the offence was such as would have involved 
the penalty of death in the secular court, the ecclesiastical 
judge sentenced the offender to imprisonment for life in 
the bishop's prison. 

The exemption of ecclesiastical persons from the juris- 
diction of the secular courts was no new claim of the 
Church. It had long been recognised in the great codes 
of civil law. It has its place in the laws of Justinian ; it 
was enforced by the capitularies of Charlemagne ; it was 
acknowledged in the legislation of the Anglo-Saxon 
kings of England. We unfortunately do not possess 
material for a continuous history of the relations of the 
Church and the State in regard to this question as it practi- 
cally evolved itself in Scotland. The ecclesiastical statutes 
of the thirteenth century are intended to deal with the 
excesses of ecclesiastical pretensions. Thus, it is forbidden 
to priests, vicars, and other clerks to demand from the lay 
officers of the State a clerk, or a crusader \j.e. one who 
had taken a vow to go on a crusade], who had been 
arrested for such crimes as homicide or robbery, unless 
with the consent, or at the order of the bishop, arch- 
deacon, or dean [of Christianity] of the place where the 
demand for the delivery of the prisoner was made. In 



such a case it was expected that the lay officer {haUi'vus 
laicus) should at once surrender his prisoner to the ecclesi- 
astical authorities. And it was forbidden to the clergy to 
answer any demand of the officer for a lay borgh, or 
surety, as a condition for the delivery of his prisoner. 
The claim for the transfer could be made only by the 
bishop or his deputy ; but when it was made, the officer 
was to hand over the detained clerk without further 

In the same body of statutes we find that the clerks 
of whatever order were to be defended by the Church 
until, in the case of ruthless crimes (^propter immanitatem 
criminum) they had been first formally degraded from the 
orders they possessed in the Church, after which formal 
degradation they were to be handed over to the secular 
power. In the case of crimes of less enormity clerks after 
conviction were to be committed to ' the close custody of 
the prison of the diocesan, and there supported on the 
bread of affliction and the water of tribulation.' - This 
statute shows us that the bishop's prison was a Scottish as 
well as an English institution. In the provincial con- 
stitutions enacted at Lambeth in 1261, every bishop was 
enjoined to have in his diocese ' one or two prisons for 
the detention of flagitious clerks, caught in, or convicted 
of, crime.' '^ 

In matters spiritual, laymen as well as clerics were liable 
to be cited, and dealt with, by the ecclesiastical courts. 
But difficulties arose when questions as to real property 
came to be debated. In 1208, Patrick, Earl of Dunbar, 
had a dispute with the monks of Melrose as to certain 
pasture lands, which, as the monks alleged, belonged to 
them, and which the earl had appropriated. He was cited 
before the ecclesiastical court, and on his refusing to 
appear, all his manors were placed under interdict. Sub- 
sequently he alleged various exceptions, and claimed as 
a layman the benefit of the common law ot the kingdom. 
The ecclesiastical judges, however, declared that it was 
* the general custom of those parts ' that a layman might 
be cited by a clerk before the Church courts, especially 
when dealing with property which had been granted in 
^S.E.S. ii. 18. ^'Ibid. Uf.C. i. 755. 


frankalmoigne. Eventually an amicable agreement was 
made between the parties in the presence of the king.^ 

Whatever be the origin and value of Regiam Majes- 
tatem as a witness to early Scottish practice, its recognition 
in later times makes it worthy of record that according to 
this manual of law certain matters were removed from 
debatable ground. All pleas relating to marriage dowries, 
to testaments, to the advowson of churches, and the right 
of patronage of churches, were expressly remitted to the 
jurisdiction of the Church.^ But on this subject more 
will be said when dealing with the ecclesiastical courts. 
Although generally the question of advowson, or right of 
patronage, to a parish church was held to belong to the 
ecclesiastical courts, we find an early instance (it belongs 
to the reign of King William) in which the prior and 
canons of St. Andrews were drawn into the king's court. 
Saer de Quency (afterwards Earl of Winton) claimed 
the right of patronage to the churches of Leuchars and 
Loscresc, which had been granted to the prior and con- 
vent by Ness, grandfather of Saer : and he presented one 
Symon de Quency (presumably a relation of his own) to 
the benefice. The prior and convent referred the matter 
to the Pope (Innocent III.), who sent a mandate to the 
abbats of Arbroath, Cupar, and Lindores, to compel 
Saer to desist from his molestation of the true patrons. 
Saer refused to litigate except in the court of the king, 
and cited the prior before that tribunal. When the prior 
compeared, the king attempted to reduce the prior to 
compliance by threats {minis et terrorihus) : and it seems 
that the three abbats were so alarmed that they declined 
to proceed farther in the matter. For this neglect they 
were sharply rebuked by the Pope and ordered to take 
action for bringing the dispute to a close. We need not 
pursue the matter farther. But it is interesting to notice 
that the Pope states that the citing of the prior before the 
court of the king was ' contra consuetudinem ecclesiae Scoti- 
canae.' The Pope was quite determined in the matter, and 
no fewer than four bulls were issued to effect the ends of 
justice.^ The incident, though interesting, is of no con- 
i^.P. i. 391. 2^.Ri. 598. 

^Seei?/?^. Prior at. S. Jndree, 350-352. 


stitutional importance. It merely illustrates the imperious 
temper of William the Lion at a time when relations with 
Rome were strained. This transaction is almost contem- 
porary with the dispute between the monks of Melrose 
and the Earl of Dunbar referred to above. 

One other case may be referred to as illustrating the 
uncertainty as to the respective limits of the jurisdiction 
of the temporal and ecclesiastical courts in the time of 
King William. There was a dispute between the monas- 
tery of Arbroath and the Keledei of Abernethy as to 
the teinds of certain lands. The question was litigated 
apparently for a long time in both the king's court and 
the bishop's. This is stated in the definitive sentence 
of the bishop (Abraham, of Dunblane), before whom the 
cause was tried, and it is added that sentence was given in 
the presence of many nobles who were sent by the king 
' ad finem ejusdem litis audiendum.'^ 

We find Pope Gregory X. in 1273 writing a sharp and 
peremptory letter to Alexander III. complaining that he 
compelled causes relating to the advowson of churches to 
be litigated in the secular courts.^ 

1 Regis t. Vet. de Merbrothoc, 148. • "^ Lib. de Scon. No. 120. 



For the supervision of the parochial clergy and the parish 
churches the bishop relied to a large extent on the arch- 
deacon and his subordinates, the ' deans of Christianity/ 
To these officers also was committed the execution of the 
bishop's mandates. 

The bishops of the smaller dioceses had each one arch- 
deacon ; the bishops of the extensive dioceses of St. 
Andrews, and (after 1238) of Glasgow, had each two. 
The archdeacons of the former of these sees took their 
titles from St. Andrews and Lothian, the river and estuary 
of the Forth dividing the two jurisdictions. The 
archdeacons of the southern diocese were known as the 
archdeacon of Glasgow and the archdeacon of Teviotdale. 

For certain purposes parishes were in most of the 
dioceses grouped together in smaller sections, generally 
known in Scotland as ' deaneries of Christianity,' each 
presided over by one of the parochial clergy, known as 
the *dean of Christianity,' or towards the end of our 
period, as the * rural dean.' ^ 

The condition of the fabric and furniture of the parish 
churches came more especially under the supervision of 

^The term 'rural dean' is comparatively infrequent in Scottish 
record/ and is found chiefly at a late period, as, for example, in Myln's 
Vitae Eptsc. Dunkelden., and in the provincial statutes of 1558-59. See 
Ztat. Eccl. Scot. ii. 161. In a notary's instrument of the year 1489, we 
find the expression 'rural dean of the deanery of Christianity of Ruther- 
glen ' {%egist. de Passelet, 352). 


the archdeacon and the rural deans. It was enacted in 
synod in the thirteenth century that every church in the 
diocese should be visited annually by the archdeacons or 
their deans, and that all defects in the churches and 
churchyards, the books, and ornamenta^ should be brought 
to the bishop's notice with a view to their amendment.^ 

The archdeacons and deans were also commissioned to 
report on the lives and behaviour of the clergy within 
their respective jurisdictions. Thus, in the thirteenth 
century, deans as well as archdeacons were instructed to 
make careful inquiry throughout their deaneries whether 
any of the clergy publicly kept concubines.- And three 
hundred years later it is plain that the same duty was 
expected of them, for the statutes of the provincial council 
of 1549 require that each dean should take the oath 
de fideli administradone^ in consequence of the charge 
brought against some of their number that they were not 
ashamed to take bribes for concealing the misconduct 
of concubinary or adulterous priests.^ As early at least as 
1 20 1 we find the papal legate in Scotland assuming that 
the dean visited the parishes in his deanery.* Whether 
he visited independently of the archdeacon, or only as 
his deputy, is not quite clearly apparent. 

In 1293, and again in 1316, we find that the deans of 
the Merse and of Haddington had the task of collecting 
the procurations and other dues of the bishop of St. 
Andrews payable in their deaneries.^ 

Among the ordinary duties of the dean of Christianity 
was the execution of the bishop's mandates. Thus it is 
common to find the parochial clergy instituted to their 
cures, that is, given corporal and actual possession of 
them, by the dean on the mandate of the bishop.*^ 

It would seem that it had been at one time the duty of 
the dean of Christianity to hear the confessions of the 
clergy of his deanery. The evidence for this seems to be 
supplied by the ordinance of the thirteenth century that 
the bishop should appoint in every deanery ' prudent and 

iS.£.5. ii. 54. "-^S.^.^. li. 15. 3S.£.5. ii. 93. 

* 'R^g. Glasg. i. 81. ^ Lib. dc Dryburgh, 182, 245. 

« For example, see '^gist. Prior. S. .AnJrec, 403 ; Cal. Pap. Tt^g. iii. i 05. 


faithful men to be confessors,' to whom those rectors, 
vicars, and minor clerks may be able to confess, who 
perhaps are ashamed {eruhescunt) to confess to the deans.^ 
When instituted at rather a late period in the diocese of 
Dunkeld the rural deans acted as penitentiaries.^ But the 
duties of the penitentiary were more extensive than those 
of an ordinary confessor. 

The dislike of the clergy to make their confessions 
to one of the clergy of the neighbourhood is intelligible ; 
and we find it expressing itself in England in Archbishop 
Peckham's ordinance of 128 1. He retained indeed a 
learned and discrete confessor in each deanery (it is not 
said that he was to be a rural dean) to serve as peni- 
tentiary, but added that the clergy, if they preferred it, 
might resort to ' other common penitentiaries. '^ The 
difficulty was met in another way by the synod of Dublin 
in 12 1 7, which ordered the clergy of each rural deanery to 
elect two to whom priests might confess.* 

The deans of Christianity not only executed the man- 
dates of their own bishops, but, on occasion, were com- 
missioned to do similar duties by the Pope's judge 
delegate. There is an example of a dean in the diocese of 
Glasgow receiving a mandate from a papal judge delegate 
to cite his own bishop to the court of the judge. ^ 

Another useful function of the deans of Christianity 
was their receiving and transmitting to the proper quarter 
the alms and offerings given by the people of the parishes 
in their respective deaneries for extra-parochial objects, as, 
for example, in the thirteenth century for the building of 
the cathedral of Glasgow.*^ 

The existence of persons to whom executive functions 
could be intrusted in the smaller diocesan subdivisions 
called deaneries must have proved convenient on many 
occasions. When in 1543 the Scottish prelates and 
clergy, assembled at St. Andrews, with patriotic zeal taxed 
themselves to the extent of 10,000 hb., ' usual money,' for 
the defence of the country against the Enghsh, and again, 

1 S.£.5. ii. 14. 2 See Myln's VU. Eftsc. Dunkel. p. 3 i. 

3 Wilkins' Concilia, ii. 54. '^Ibid. i. 548 
^ %€g. Glasg. 187. 6 5. £.5. ii. 25. 


when two years later they voted a further contribution of 
13,000 lib., the machinery for gathering the tax was found 
ready to hand in the deans of Christianity. To each of 
his deans Cardinal Beaton addressed a missive appointing 
him collector in his deanery, and granting him authority 
to excommunicate any who refused to pay their propor- 
tion of the tax,^ Earlier in the same century Archbishop 
Forman made use of his deans of Christianity for com- 
municating his injunctions on various subjects to the 
clergy, not only secular, but monastic, within their re- 
spective deaneries." The dean served also conveniently 
for the collection of information for state purposes. In 
1428 the Scottish Parliament in an Act annent Lippe? 
Folke enjoined on bishops, officials, and deans, ' to inquire 
diligentlie in their visitation of ilk paroche kirke, gif onie 
be smitted with Lipper.' ^ 

There is not, so far as I am aware, any evidence to show 
that the dioceses of Brechin, Ross, and Caithness were 
divided into rural deaneries. Brechin was, no doubt, of 
but small extent ; but it is not so easy to conjecture why 
such useful functionaries as the deans of Christianity were 
absent from the dioceses of Ross and Caithness. It may 
be that I have failed to find evidence with which others 
may be acquainted. 

In the diocese of Dunkeld, rural deans do not appear 
before the time of Bishop George Brown (1483-15 15), who 
according to Myln^ eventually appointed four deans, one 
for the borders of Athol and Drumalbane ; another for the 
part of Angus ; a third for the parishes situated in Fife, 
Fothrik, and Strathern ; and a fourth for the scattered 
churches of the diocese south of the water of Forth. 

For the other dioceses we have early evidence ot the 
existence of deaneries, St. Andrews contained (in the 
archdeaconry of St. Andrews) the deaneries of Fife, 
Fothric,*^ Goveryn (Gowrie), Angus, and Mearns ; <^ and 

1 S.E.S. i. pp. ccliv-cclvii. ^ Sec S.E.S. i. appendix xxiii. 

3 J.P. ii. 16. *Fit. Episc. Dunkcl. 30. 

* The churches included in Fothric show it to be .t region of considerable 
breadth running along the northern shore of the estuary of the Forth. 

"See Dunferml. 203-211 ; Regist. Jbnbrothoc, 232- 
245 ; Regist. Priorat. S. Jtidree, 28-37, 35 5-358- 


(in the archdeaconry of Lothian), Linlithgow, Lothian 
(sometimes called Haddington)/ and the Merse.^ 

The diocese ofGlasgow was divided into nine deaneries : 
Lanark, Rutherglen, Lennox, Kyle and Cunningham, 
Carrick, Peebles, Teviotdale, Nithsdale, and Annandale.^ 
Moray had deaneries of Elgin, Inverness, Strathspey, and 
Strathbogie.^ The parishes of the diocese of Aberdeen 
were grouped in five deaneries : Garioch, Mar, Aberdeen, 
Buchan, and Boyne. In the sixteenth century the name 
of Formatine appears (1547) as a deanery of this diocese.^ 

In Boiamund's roll as preserved at the Vatican we find 
Galloway divided into the deaneries of Fames, Rinnes, 
Desnes, and Glenken.^ 

In the diocese of Argyll there were deaneries bearing 
the names of Kyntire, Glassary, Lorn, and Movern ; 
and the evidence points to these divisions having been 
made soon after the establishment of that diocese.^ 

It is generally supposed that Dunblane was not divided 
into deaneries of Christianity .^ It has been remarked by 

1 Haddington is the name in Boiamund's roll (Theiner's Monumenta, 

p. 113)- 

2 The names may prove misleading to the unwary : thus in 
Boiamund's roll the churches of St. Giles and St. Cuthbert, Edinburgh, 
are in the deanery of Linlithgow. 

^Reg. Glasg. pp. Ixiv fF. ^ Reg. Morav. 362. 

^Collections for a History of the Shires of Aberdeen and Ba7iff, 309. 

^ I have not observed Glenken as a deanery elsewhere (unless Glenken 
is the true reading in Laing Charters, No. 339), and I give its parishes 
as they are exhibited in the strange spelling of the record, viz. : Dalri, 
Trevercarcou, Kelles, Parcon, and Kircandres Balimeth (Theiner's 
Monumenta, p. 116). Some of these can be readily identified, but others 
I must leave to those better versed in the topography of the district. 

■^ See Origines Parochiales, vol. ii. part i. 

8 But who could Martin, ' decanus de Menethet,' in 1235 have been? 
(Chartulary of the Abbey of Lindores, p. 55). It would be well if we 
possessed a complete list of deans as they appear in subscriptions 
and testing clauses. We find one Elyas, ' dean of Perth,' in the 
Chartulary of Lindores (p. 80). I suppose this name is a synonym for 
the dean of Gowrie. A dean of Clydesdale appears early in the Glasgow 
records {Reg. Glasg. 41, 46, 96, etc.). It is another name for Lanark. 
I do not know how to explain our finding a dean of Peebles and a dean 
ofStobo testing the same charter (z3. 73). Wefind a dean of 'Tiringham' 
(?Tiningham) in 1207 {Cal. Pap. Reg. i. 28). There was a dean of 
Forfar in 12 14 (Spalding Club, Collections, etc. 561), 


Dr. Grub that the Scottish diocese of the Isles was pro- 
bably divided into rural deaneries, as we find a dean of 
Mull in 1532.1 

The number of parishes associated together in a deanery 
varied much, from five or six to over forty. 

We find in 1275 one person acting as dean of two 
deaneries at the same time. A certain Yvan styles himself 
* dean of Christianity of Peebles and Lanark.' '^ But this 
is unusual. 

Ruri-decanal chapters. There is evidence that there 
were at least occasional gatherings of the parish clergy 
of each deanery, which were known as chapters {capituld). 
Thus, in the thirteenth century, when great efforts were 
made for the completion of the structure of the cathedral 
of Glasgow, the sums contributed (under the stimulus of 
special indulgences) in the various parishes between the 
beginning of Lent and the first Sunday after Easter were to 
be handed over to the respective deans at the next ensuing 
chapter of the deanery.^ 

In 1 22 1 there was a charter granted at Edenham in 
pleno capitulo de Mersce} In 1245 there was held at 
Lauder a meeting of the eastern chapter of Lothian, at 
which a dispute between the nuns of Haddington and the 
Priory of St. Andrews was settled.^ And other scattered 
notices may be found ; but they are too brief to enable 
us to obtain information as to the business transacted or 
the procedure of these gatherings of the clergy. 

The Archdeacon. 

The archdeacon possessed large powers and large 
influence. As ' the bishop's eye ' (oculus episcopi) he had 
the supervision of all the parochial clergy in his arch- 
deaconry, he visited the churches, he was received and 
entertained in the manses, or received ' procurations ' in 
money in lieu of entertainment.*' He reported to the 

1 See Ecclesiastict!l History of Scotland, i. 278 note. 

"'Reg. Glasg. 187, 188, 190. -S.E.S. ii. 25. 

'^Lib. de Calchou, No. 254. ''' ^fg- Priorat. S. Andrer, 329. 

«5.£.S. ii. 13. 


bishop the result of his investigations. He had his court 
for the trial of spiritual offences ; and we frequently find 
notices of his official, or judge who acted as his deputy in 
his court, distinct from the official of the bishop. The 
character of their office was scarcely such as to allow of 
archdeacons being popular with the parish clergy, and 
one sometimes comes across references to their being 
grasping ; but I have found nothing to lead me to think 
that they were ever as heartily disliked in Scotland as 
they certainly were in England. 

The archdeacon was also charged by the common law 
of the Church with the examination of the attainments of 
candidates for Holy Orders and of clerks presented to 

The frequent absence of bishops from their dioceses in 
attendance on the king or on political missions abroad, 
tended to raise the influence of their archdeacons. In the 
administration of the diocese the archdeacon was often in 
practice the chief authority. Capable men, often well versed 
in civil as well as canon law, were commonly appointed 
to these posts ; and we have many instances of those who 
had filled the responsible position of archdeacon being 
appointed to vacant sees. 

Our Scottish records, so far as I know, do not furnish 
any example of an archdeacon's articles of visitation, 
that is, the list of topics into which the archdeacon was to 
inquire. But we may safely assume that they were 
somewhat similar to those found in English documents.^ 

In England, however it may have been originally, the 
archdeacons succeeded in some cases, in process of time, in 
securing for themselves a jurisdiction independent of the 

1 See Decretals of Gregory IX. lib. i. tit. xxiii. * De Officio Archidiaconi.' 

2 A few specimen questions out of the fifty issued for the archdeaconries 
of Lincoln in 1230 may be exhibited: 'Whether rectors, vicars, or 
parish priests are egregiously ignorant {enormiter ilhterati) ? ' ; ' whether 
any of the aforesaid are incontinent ? ' ; * whether any are married ? ' ; 
'whether any are drunkards or frequent taverns ?' ; 'whether any play 
at dice?' ; 'whether any extort money for hearing confessions or for 
the other sacraments?'; 'whether any are non-resident?'; 'whether 
the adulteries or public crimes of laymen have been duly corrected 
by the archdeacons ? ' ; * whether any clerk or layman keeps a clerk's 
concubine in his lodgings ?' See Wilkins' Concilia, i. 627, 628. 


bishops. In Scotland it would seem that something of a 
similar kind was attempted by the archdeacon of Teviot- 
dale in 1427-8. We find that the disputes between him 
and the bishop of Glasgow in regard to their respective 
jurisdictions reached a point which made it desirable to 
have the matter settled authoritatively. Instead of 
formal litigation before the Pope, the parties resolved to 
submit the questions in dispute to the dean and chapter 
of Glasgow, and agreed to abide by their decision. The 
arguments on behalf of parties having been heard, the 
dean and chapter after deliberation pronounced the 
following ordinance, (i) That the bishop had and was 
accustomed to have his commissaries in the archdeaconry 
of Teviotdale 'who were accustomed to sit, hear the 
process, judge, and terminate all and singular causes, as 
also in the greater archdeaconry of Glasgow.' (2) The 
archdeacon of Teviotdale was accustomed to have his 
commissaries who could take cognisance of all minor 
causes, judge and terminate them. (3) The archdeacon 
of Teviotdale had no power of depriving or imprisoning 
without the special mandate of the bishop. (4) There 
was an appeal by those who felt aggrieved from the 
judgment of the archdeacon or his commissaries to the 
bishop or his court.^ This important document is, so far 
as I am aware, the most illuminative passage in Scottish 
record on the rather obscure relations of the courts of the 
bishop and archdeacon. 

It will be observed that the bishop's court and the 
archdeacon's court were each regarded as having com- 
petent jurisdiction in minor causes. And apparently the 
judge in whose court the cause was first called was 
entitled to proceed in the case.^ 

Everyone who is at all familiar with the language 
of our Scottish records knows how frequently the 
word ' archdean ' is used instead of the proper term 
'archdeacon.' And this error is not confined to 
the vernacular ; for examples can occasionally be found 
where 'archidecanus' is employed when 'archidiaconus' is 

1 Reg. G/asg. ii. 319-320. 

- Ibid. ' In talibus locus erat prcventioni litternrum commissariorum 
domini episcopi et archidiaconi.' 


unquestionably the term which should have been used.^ 
The confusion may in part perhaps be accounted for by 
the resemblance in sound between the two words. But I 
venture to suggest that it may have originated, or at least 
currency may have been given to it, through the fact that 
the archdeacon was in reality, in regard to many of his 
functions, ' the chief of the deans,' that is, of the deans of 
Christianity, who are sometimes spoken of as ' his deans.* 
In an early vernacular monumental inscription, certainly 
before 1380, we find an archdeacon of Dunkeld, Ingram 
de Kethenys by name, styling himself (for the monument 
appears to have been erected during his life-time) 'ersdene 
of Dunkeldyn.'^ We find an ecclesiastic like Wyntoun 
using ' archdene ' for 'archdeacon,'^ and after his date the 
term is frequent. The word is found in the records of 
Parliament, where we meet the ' archdene ' of St. Andrews, 
the ' archdene ' of Glasgow, the ' archdene ' of Lothian, 
etc. In the Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer (i. i) 
William Scheres appears as ' archdene of St. Andrews ' 
(1473). Sir William Sinclair of Roslin (Lord Justice 
General under Queen Mary) writes, ' arsedene of 

It is curious that English writers do not seem to have 
fallen into this error. 

The Vicar General. 

Scottish records throw little light on the office of the 
bishop's vicar general. But assuming that his functions 
were similar to those of vicars general in medieval 
England, we may say that he acted for the bishop in 
matters of non-contentious jurisdiction, and, generally, 
in spiritualihus^ as distinguished from the bishop's official, 
who heard causes between parties, as to testaments, 
marriages, etc. In the Scottish General Council of 1549 

1 An example will be found in Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensis ii. 

"Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (1895- 1896), PP* 
42, 43- 

3 Cro»))^/7 (Laing's edit.), ii. p. 236. 

* Ex tr acta ex variis cionicis, 255. 


the vicars general of the vacant sees of Glasgow and 
Dunkeld appear in the list next after the bishops of 
other sees.^ 

We find the vicar general of Galloway, sede vacante, 
issuing the mandate summoning the abbots, priors, and 
others to appear at the General Council of 1558-9.^ 

In James II. 's Parliament of 1449 an act was passed 
ordaining that the vicars general of vacant sees should 
collect all the fruits and revenues of all benefices mensal 
of the bishop so far as they pertained to the spirituality^ 
that is, tithes, oblations, etc., and should render an 
account of them to the next bishop on his appointment. 
The * temporalities,' that is, the rents of bishops' lands, 
issues of court, etc., during the vacancy belonged to 
the crown, 2 

In 1546 we find the vicar general of St. Andrews 
appearing before Parliament by his commissary to re- 
pledge from Parliament a clerk, * John Young, chaplain,' 
accused of being ' art and part takar ' of the murder of 
Cardinal Beaton. The commissary assigns a day to the 
queen's advocate to compear in the consistory aisle of St. 
Giles' church in Edinburgh before the commissaries to be 
deputed by the vicar general, and there to hear and see 
justice ministered upon the said John Young.* 

Presentations by patrons of ecclesiastical preferment 
were made to the vicar general, sede vacante^ or if the 
bishop were in remotis\ and he dealt with them. In 
Scottish records he appears as a person distinct from the 
bishop's official. 

15.£.5. ii. 82. -Ibid. 145. 

3^.P. ii.38. ^lb\d.\(>-. 



The most important of the conceptions that governed 
ecclesiastical action during the medieval period was that 
all spiritual authority and jurisdiction was derived from 
the Bishop of Rome, and that to the Bishop of Rome 
the judgments of every church court might be carried 
on appeal. The state, the civil power, on several 
occasions resented, and sometimes resisted the papal 
claims when they were regarded as encroaching on civil 
jurisdiction. But it was impossible for any ecclesiastic, 
brought up from childhood in acceptance of the prevailing 
conceptions as to the source of spiritual authority, to do 
more than murmur at the successive steps by which 
that authority advanced its pretensions and extended the 
sphere of its influence. Every step was only the legiti- 
mate outcome of principles that had long been conceded 
in theory. 

The ecclesiastical history of Scotland during the medi- 
eval period, like that of every country in Europe, 
presents a continuous moving scene of references to Rome, 
sometimes for the confirmation of episcopal and other 
elections, and in later times in the form of petitions for 
' provision ' not only to the prelacies, but to all manner 
of ecclesiastical benefices ; sometimes by way of appeal 
against the decisions of the local tribunals ; sometimes for 
dispensations from the requirements of the canon law ot 
the Church ; sometimes for the revision of former pro- 
nouncements alleged to have been made in error as to 


matters of fact ; sometimes as supplications for exemptions 
or for grants of special privileges; sometimes as applications 
for authoritative confirmations of lands, churches, or other 
rights to which the monasteries or cathedrals laid claim. 
One cannot read the records of the time without coming 
to the conclusion that very few weeks could have gone by 
without special messengers, petitioners, litigants, or duly 
authorised procurators of parties in litigation being found 
making their journey to or from the papal court. 

Again, not infrequently, more especially in the earlier 
part of the period with which we are dealing, the Pope, 
very wisely, instead of deciding questions at Rome, 
appointed from among the Scottish clergy certain persons 
who were in each particular case to investigate the facts on 
the spot, and either decide the matter forthwith, or some- 
times (for the terms of the commission varied in different 
cases) to report to Rome. 

In the earlier days of the Church's history the metro- 
politans of the various provinces ordinarily confirmed 
episcopal elections, and, in general, decided conclusively 
causes appealed from the judgment of the bishop of a 
diocese. In Scotland there was no metropolitan till 1472. 
Hence, Scotland occupied the very anomalous position 
of affording no opportunity of appeal to a local superior 
judge from the judgment of a bishop. It is also apparent 
that there was no local authority entitled to intervene 
in any dispute that might arise between two bishops. 
From this condition of things it came to pass that Scotland, 
though remote in place, had probably a closer connexion 
with Rome than any other country in Christendom, outside 
* the Patrimony of St. Peter,' and was thrown into par- 
ticularly intimate relations with the Holy See.^ 

Subordinate to the principles and pronouncements of 
the Roman canon law, a considerable body of ecclesias- 
tical legislation had its origin in the different kingdoms 

^ The comparison indicated above has special reference to the earlier 
times, before appeals to Rome from the judgments of metropolitans 
became frequent and were too commonly encouraged at Rome. See St. 
Bernard's protest against the beginnings of this abuse in his outspoken 
Epistle (No. 178) to Innocent II., and in his scathing exposure of 
Roman corruptions in his treatise De ConsiJcrtitione, addressed to 
Eugcnius III. Opera, vol. i. p. 76 and p. 190. 


of Europe from the action of provincial synods. There 
are also frequent examples, both in England and Scotland, 
of councils being held by the authority of papal legates, 
who happened to be present from time to time in these 
countries. The laws and constitutions enacted at such 
synods or councils are sometimes no more than pro- 
mulgations of canons already recognised, but more often 
they are of the nature of working by-laws, adapting 
general principles to the requirements of the time and 

The canons and constitutions of provincial, or of 
legatine councils, are of special interest as contributing 
much material from which we are enabled to construct 
a tolerably full picture of some aspects of ecclesiastical life 
during the middle ages. The records of Scottish 
councils that have survived the general destruction of 
Church documents at the Reformation are, unfortunately, 
meagre when compared with the mass of material that 
relates to the Church of England during the same period. 
Yet from them we are able to learn much of such Im- 
portant subjects as the extent of episcopal authority, the 
rights of the parochial clergy, the law of telnds, the 
relations of rectors and vicars, the laws affecting the landed 
property of the Church, the building and repair of churches 
and manses, the laws of last wills and testamentary In- 
struments, the law of marriage, the discipline of the 
clergy, and very much relating to the spiritual work of 
the Church, the dispensation of the sacraments, and 
questions of order and ritual. To which we must add 
that many interesting glimpses are afforded Incidentally 
of the religious life of the people. 

The councils or synods (the words are used Indifferently) 
of the Scottish Church, with which we are concerned (apart 
from episcopal or diocesan synods), fall Into three classes. 

First, there were legatine councils, that is, councils sum- 
moned by a legate of the Pope. Some nine or ten of such 
councils were held in the twelfth and in the early years 
of the thirteenth century. They were generally convened 
to meet in Scotland ; but occasionally the legate chose 
some place in England to which the Scottish prelates were 

summoned to attend. 



Secondly, we have a large number of councils, dating 
from the year 1225, when the Pope, in response to the 
request of the Scottish bishops, gave authority for the 
holding of annual provincial councils, in accordance with 
the ordinance of the fourth Lateran council, although 
Scotland did not yet possess a metropolitan, by whom 
the canon of the Lateran council enjoins that such annual 
provincial councils should be held. The plan devised 
to meet the peculiar case of Scotland at this time will 
be described later on. 

Thirdly, after Scotland had been put in line (1472) with 
the other countries of Europe by the erection of St. 
Andrews into a metropolitan see, it was possible under 
the common law of the Church for the archbishop to 
convene provincial councils. As a matter of fact, how- 
ever, owing, probably, to the violent and acrimonious 
disputes between the Archbishop of St. Andrews and 
the Archbishop of Glasgow in respect to jurisdiction, 
provincial councils under a metropolitan were not held, so 
far as evidence has been forthcoming, till the very brink 
of the ereat ecclesiastical revolution that is known as the 
Reformation. Three important councils were held in the 
space of ten years, namely, in 1549, 1552, and 1558-9. 
They were intended to reform abuses, and so to check the 
violence of the revolutionary movement. But they came 
too late. What might, perhaps, have been effective if 
taken in hand fifty years earlier was now wholly futile. 
The statutes enacted by these three councils have happily 
come down to us, and they are ot much value in illus- 
trating the history of the Church at the time ; but they 
belong to the more modern period, and will not be dealt 
with by me except in so far as they may occasionally illus- 
trate the statutes of middle ages. 

The first writer who treated of the councils of the 
Scottish Church with anything like adequate information 
was Father Thomas Innes, who generously contributed a 
valuable little treatise on the subject to the great work of 
Wilkins, the Concilia Magnae Britamiiae et Hiberniae (1737)-^ 

^ Innes's Epistola ad Editorem has been reprinted in Grub's edition 
of Innes's Civil and Ecclesiastical History of Scotland (Spalding Club), 
pp. xxxix-lii. 


Again, Sir David Dalrymple of Hailes printed in 1769 
a quarto pamphlet entitled 'Canons of the Church of 
Scotland drawn up in the Provincial Councils held at 
Perth, A.D. 1242 and a.d. 1269,' and illustrated them 
with a few useful notes, showing, inter alia, how largely 
the Scottish statutes were derived from English sources. 
But all previous labours are cast entirely into the shade 
by Joseph Robertson's masterly Concilia Scotiae, printed 
for the Bannatyne Club.^ It is impossible to treat of the 
Scottish councils without offering one's tribute of grati- 
tude and hearty admiration for the thorough and scholarly 
labours of Mr. Robertson. In his admirable work we 
have carefully printed texts of such statutes, whether 
provincial or diocesan, as have survived, together with 
various readings supplied from MSS., while in the 
Preface, occupying the first volume, the whole subject is 
treated with a wonderful wealth of illustrative information, 
intelligently and pertinently applied. Mr. Robertson's 
volumes can never be long absent from the hands of 
anyone who aims at an accurate knowledge of the history 
of the medieval Church in Scotland.^ 

I. Legatine Councils. — The notices of the legatine 
councils held in Scotland, or attended by the Scottish 
prelates, are scattered here and there in the records of 
the old chroniclers and historians. They are unfortu- 
nately very brief and often unsatisfactory. We learn, 
however, enough to see that they were generally convened 
to determine, or else report to Rome, upon some con- 
troversy pressing at the time. In two councils, at least, 
statutes were enacted. But their nature and purport do 
not appear with the exception recorded by Fordun of a 
canon enacted at the council held at Perth in 1201, which 

1 Concilia Scotiae, Ecclesiae Scoticanae staluta tarn provincialia tjuam synodalia 
quae supersunt. mccxxv.-mdlix. 2 Tom. Edinburgi, 1866 — [the work 
cited in these Y'^g^i passim as S.E.S.\ 

2 Scotland has good reason to be proud of the little group of scholars, 
of whom Joseph Robertson, Cosmo Innes, John Stuart, and George 
Grub were the most distinguished. But, unhappily, they bred up few 
to succeed them. Invaluable as Robertson's work is, one cannot but 
regret that he did not in his notes explain and illustrate more fully some 
of the more obscure of the statutes that belong to the thirteenth and 
fourteenth centuries. He was quite familiar with the sources of infor- 
mation that would have enabled him to clear up many difficulties. 


decreed that clergy who had received the order of priest 
on a Sunday were to be removed from the ministry of the 
altar. It was held to be a special prerogative of the Pope 
to confer holy orders on the Lord's day. Saturday was 
the day when, according to ancient rule, bishops were to 
celebrate their ordinations of priests, deacons and sub- 
deacons. But I have not succeeded in finding a parallel 
for the severe penalty inflicted, not, it should be observed, 
on the ofi^ending bishop, but on those whom he had 
admitted to the priesthood on a forbidden day. The 
legatine councils were attended by the heads of monastic 
houses as well as by the bishops.-^ 

Even after the formal establishment of the annual 
provincial councils, we find that when a papal legate 
happened to be commissioned to Scotland, he sometimes 
convened the Scottish clergy in synod, as in 1239 at 
Holyrood. And in 1269, when King Alexander III. 
refused to admit Cardinal Othobon into Scotland, the 
legate summoned the Scottish bishops, two abbats and 
two priors, as Bower puts it, pro toto clero Scotiae,^ to 
London. The bishops with one consent resolved to send 
two of their number to watch that nothing should be 
enacted to their prejudice in their absence. 'The rest 
of the clergy,' to use Bower's language, sent one abbat 
and one prior. The legate enacted certain new statutes 
which, the historian informs us, the Scottish clergy utterly 
refused to observe. The only point of this interesting 
incident which for our purpose is worth observing, is 
that the heads of monastic houses were taken to repre- 
sent the clergy generally. 

II. Provincial Councils held under the special privilege 
granted by the Pope in the year 1225. — The fourth Lateran 
council, in many respects the most influential of the 
general councils of the Middle Ages, was held, under 
Pope Innocent III., in the year 1215. It was attended 
by the Latin patriarchs of Constantinople and Jerusalem, 
27 metropolitans, 412 bishops, and more than 800 abbats 

^ The character of the subjects dealt with in the legatine councils can 
be seen at a glance by referring to the summary given in the Additional 
Note appended to this chapter. 

" Scotichronicov, lib. x. cap. 24. 



d priors. From Scotland there were present the 
Bishops of St. Andrews, Glasgow, and Moray, and the 
Abbat of Kelso, while the other Scottish prelates were 
represented by their procurators. 

Among the many imporant enactments of this great 
council we find one {VI. De Conciliis Provincialibus) 
directing that metropolitans should not omit to follow the 
ancient ordinance of celebrating with their suffragans 
provincial councils every year. 

The object of such annual provincial councils was, 
according to the Lateran statute, to provide by careful 
deliberation ' for the correction of excesses and the 
reformation of morals, especially among the clergy.' To 
this end the canons of the Church, and more particularly 
those enacted by the Lateran council, were to be read 
over, and their observance insisted on by the infliction of 
due punishment upon offenders. It was further ordained 
that whatever decrees might be made by the provincial 
council should be pubhshed in each diocese in the 
annual episcopal {i.e. diocesan) synod. Suspension from 
benefice and office was to be the penalty for disobedience.^ 

The Scottish bishops were at once confronted with 
the fact that they had no metropolitan, and therefore 
could not give effect to the requirement of the Lateran 
statute. They represented the facts to the Pope ; and 
just ten years after the Lateran council a remedy was 

The Papal Bull (1225) marks an era, and is of so 
much importance that it may be well to give it in full. 
' Honorius, Bishop, servant of the servants of God, to our 
venerable Brethren, all the Bishops of the realm of 
Scotland, health and apostolic benediction. Certain of 
you have lately brought to our knowledge that because 
you have not an Archbishop, by whose authority you 
could celebrate a Provincial Council, it comes to pass that 
in the realm of Scotland, which is so remote from the 
Apostolic See, the Statutes of the General Council 
[Lateran IV.] are neglected, and very many irregularities 
{enormia) are committed, and remain unpunished. Now 
whereas Provincial Councils ought not to be omitted, in 
1 Mansi, Tom. xxii. col. 991. 


which with the fear of God before your eyes you should 
diligently consider the correction of excesses and the 
reformation of morals, and in which the canonical rules 
should be read over and maintained, especially those 
enacted at the same General Council, we by apostolic 
ordinance (^per apostolica scripta) command you to 
celebrate, by our authority, a Provincial Council, inas- 
much as we are aware that you have no Metropolitan. 
Given at Tivoli, xiv. Kal. Jun. in the ninth year of our 
pontificate.' ^ 

The persons summoned to attend the Scottish pro- 
vincial councils were the bishops (^prelati majores)^ the 
heads of the great monasteries, i.e. the abbats and priors 
of priories 2 {^prelati minores)^ and proctors from capitular 
bodies, whether secular or religious. There does not 
seem to be any clear indication of representation being 
afforded to the great body of the parochial clergy. 

The bishops chose one of their own number, who 
presumably presided at the council, and to whom certainly 
the distinction was given of taking the place of honour at 
the religious service, which preceded the session. This 
prelate was designated ' the Conservator of the Council.*^ 
He issued the summons to the next council, and to him 
was intrusted the right of fixing the place and time of 
meeting. He held office only for the year, and it was his 
duty to punish with the censures of the Church manifest 
and notorious violators of the statutes. 

The summons to the council was addressed to each 
bishop, requiring and very earnestly exhorting him in the 
Lord to be present ' with the prelates of his diocese ' and 
the proctors of chapters at the place and on the day 

1 19 May, 1225. The original text is printed in S.E.S. ii. 3 ; and in 
Rrgist. Aberdon. ii. 3. 

2 'Priors of priories' is an expression used to distinguish the heads of 
certain houses from the office second in command to the abbat in some 
monasteries that were not priories. The prior of a priory was some- 
times known as a prior convcntualis, while the abbat's subordinate was 
known as prior claus traits. 

2 S.E.S. ii. 3, 9; also as 'conservator of the statutes of the councils,' 
S.E.S. ii. 10; also, as 'conservator of the privileges and rights of the 
Scottish Church,' S.E.S. i. 52. 


The ceremonial to be observed at the opening of the 
council is briefly sketched, a knowledge being naturally 
assumed which we can now only Imperfectly supply. 
The bishops were to wear albs, amices {amictus)^ and 
copes, their solemn mitres, and their gloves, with their 
pastoral staffs in their hands. Abbats were to wear 
surplices and copes, and the mitred abbats were to 
wear their mitres. Deans and archdeacons were to be 
vested in surplices, amesses {almut'ui)^ and copes.^ Other 
clergy present were simply directed to be vested in decent 
and comely habits. 

The deacon appointed to read the gospel, which as in 
England and elsewhere was a passage from the Gospel 
according to St. John, beginning, ' I am the Good 
Shepherd,' first proceeded, accompanied by the subdeacon 
and with two taper-bearers in front, to ask the blessing 
of the conservator, or (in his absence) of the senior 
bishop. After the gospel had been read the gospel- 
book was kissed by the conservator and each of the 
bishops. Then the conservator began the hymn, ' Veni 
Creator Spirltus ' ; and at every verse the altar was censed 
by the bishops. After this followed the sermon, the 
preacher first asking the benediction of the conservator. 
The sermon at the councils in succession was to be 
preached by the bishops in turn, the first on the roster 
being the Bishop of St. Andrews. But, apparently, a 
bishop might propose a substitute for the performance of 
this duty. 

When the sermon was finished, those who had been 
cited to the council were called ; and those absent, without 
an impediment canonically recognised as sufficient, were 
punished according to the statutes. 

After this the statutes of the fourth Lateran council 
were read through. And then came a very striking 
ceremony, known as the general excommunication. The 
bishops held each a lighted candle in his hand ; and 
without naming any individual, a long catalogue of 

^ Some account of the vestures and ornaments will be found in a 
paper by the writer on the 'Inventory of Glasgow Cathedral, 1432,' 
in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 1898-99, 
pp. 280-329. 


grievous offenders of various classes was recited. At its 
close the formula of excommunication was pronounced. 
It ran as follows : * Cursed may all the aforesaid be ; 
cursed be they within and without, from the sole of the 
foot to the crown of the head ; may their part be with 
Dathan and Abiram, whom the earth swallowed up quick. 
May their days be few, and may others take their 
possessions. May their children be orphans. And, as 
this light is now extinguished, so may their lights be 
extinguished before Him who liveth for ever and ever. 
And may their souls be sunk in hell, unless they repent, 
and satisfy for their offences, and come to amendment. 
So be it. So be it. Amen.' At the proper moment 
the candles were thrown on the ground, and extinguished : 
and the bell was tolled. 

The classes of offenders against whom these terrors 
of the Church were directed included perjurers, robbers 
with violence, thieves, incendiaries, poisoners and their 
abettors, coiners and them that ' clipped the King's 
money,' and generally all that broke ' the King's peace 
and the peace of the realm,' as well as a variety of persons 
who violated the laws and liberties of Holy Church. In 
truth the impressive rite of the general excommuni- 
cation was a constant protest on behalf of morality 
and civil order, as well as a weapon wielded on behalf 
of ecclesiastical rights and privileges. Alien and re- 
pellant as are the form and language of the general 
cursing to the temper of our time, it would be rash 
to assume that it did not serve a useful purpose in a 
barbarous age. 

At the close of the religious rites which we have briefly 
sketched, the business of the council was entered upon. 
The business was varied in character. Sometimes there 
were disputed questions to be dealt with. Sometimes 
cases brought during the year under the notice of the 
conservator, violations of Lateran statutes, or disobedience 
to enactments of the provincial council would require 
consideration. Occasionally, but, I think, rarely, new 
rules, canons or statutes, intended to meet new cir- 
cumstances and conditions, would be proposed, debated 
and adopted or rejected. 


The Lateral! rule was, as we have seen, that the provin- 
cial council should meet every year. The comparatively 
few notices of meetings of the provincial council that 
have come down to us in the pages of the historians 
and chroniclers have suggested that, as a matter of fact, the 
council was not held annually. But the inference seems 
to me to be in a high degree hazardous. When we consider 
the meagre notices of the monastic chronicles and the 
imperfect materials upon which even the best of our 
historians worked, we cannot wonder that notices of the 
meetings of the provincial council, often, we may well 
believe, of a quite formal and perfunctory nature, are so 
few. Indeed, occasionally, an incidental notice occurring 
in a summons or a writ reveals to us the existence of 
provincial councils of which the historians make no 

Of the ecclesiastical statutes that have come down to us 
from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries one collection 
consists of statutes of the episcopal (that is, diocesan) 
synod of Aberdeen, and two others consist of statutes of 
the diocesan synod of St. Andrews, one of them bearing 
date 1242, and the other being attributed, with reason, to 
the fourteenth century. I believe, however, that these 
statutes in each of these three cases were in all probability 
first enacted, in the main, at some provincial council. It 
was the rule laid down by the Lateran council that 
statutes of the provincial council should be published in 
the diocesan synods ; and I cannot but think that the 
statutes of Aberdeen and St. Andrews, referred to, are 
substantially local promulgations of laws having a higher 
authority. Many of these statutes are indeed of a kind 
which a diocesan synod had no authority to enact. It 
must be remembered that, according to the doctrine of the 
canon law, even provincial councils could make enact- 
ments only to give effect in practical detail to accepted 
principles or to constitutions otherwise established and of 

1 See Lancelot's Institutiones luris Canonici,]\h. 1. tit. iii. 4, 5. The 
primary object of provincial councils is thus stated : ' Provincialia Concilia 
sunt quae propter ecclesiasticas causas et altercationum sedationes per 
singulas Provincias, convocante Metropolitano Episcopo, omnes pro- 


As regards the legislative action of the Scottish pro- 
vincial councils we are left in no doubt that the statutes 
of English councils of the thirteenth century were largely 
drawn upon, and sometimes adopted almost verbatim. 
The Scottish statutes have little or nothing of what may 
be called local colour. There are very few that cannot be 
closely paralleled from contemporary English councils. 
Mr. Joseph Robertson has done something in illustrating 
this fact, and any careful student of Wilkins' Concilia will 
have no difficulty in largely extending the range of 
Mr. Robertson's observations. 

The Scottish Church was always strenuous in its 
determination to yield no subjection to the jurisdiction of 
either York or Canterbury ; but it was the part of good 
sense not to refuse to follow what seemed to be wise 
legislation, although it had its origin in England. It was 
in a similar spirit that the Scottish Church adopted for 
its ecclesiastical service-books generally throughout the 
country the forms of worship presented in the widely 
accepted ' use ' of the Church of Salisbury. 

Robertson conjectures that ' it is not improbable that 
some of these canons [that have come down to us] may 
have been handed down from the legatine councils 
of the twelfth century.' ^ I concur with the view ex- 
pressed, for, to judge from the case of England, 
the general character of ecclesiastical legislation in the 
twelfth century was quite of a piece with that of the 

So far as I am aware, we possess positive evidence for no 
more than nineteen provincial councils between the year 

vinciales Episcopos et Cathedralium Ecclesiarum Capitula celcbrari 
placuit. Haec autem neque definiendi ncque generaliter constltuendi 
vim aliquem habent : sed tantum curandi, ut id servetur quod alias 
statutum est, ct quod generaliter seu specialiter observari preceptum est: 
licet interdum ct quae ab his recte statuta sunt, etiam Catholica Ecclesia 
suscipiat.' Lancelot, no doubt, represents the latest developments of the 
papal view ; but even at the time with which we are dealing, provincial 
councils were chiefly concerned, as regards their legislative action, with 
enacting what we may call working by-laws for the giving effect to the 
accepted rules and principles, which had force throughout the whole of 
western Christendom. 
'^S.E.S. i. liv. 


1225 and the erection of the archbishopric, that is 
for a space of 247 years. The notices are commonly 
of the briefest kind. But in a few cases we learn 
something of the nature of the business that was 
considered. Thus, in 1238 judgment was passed on 
a controversy between the Earl of iVIenteith and the 
Bishop of Dunblane. In 1242 the clergy complained of 
the detention of their tithes by certain persons of rank. 
The king, Alexander II., entered the council, accompanied 
by his earls and barons, and in response to the complaint, 
gave commandment that no one of whatever rank should 
in any way interfere with the rights and liberties of the 
Church. In 1268 a provincial council excommunicated 
the Abbat of Melrose and great part of his monks for 
violating the sanctuary of Wedale by breaking into the 
houses of the Bishop of St. Andrews, killing a clerk, and 
wounding several others. In 1275 the provincial council 
had under consideration Boiamund's proposal to assess the 
clergy of Scotland on the ' Verus Valor ' of their benefices. 
In 1280 the Bishop of Moray in provincial council 
claimed that the other bishops should denounce Sir 
William Fenton, Lord of Beaufort (an excommunicated 
person) as under the ban of Holy Church, and to be 
strictly shunned by all the faithful. In 1325 the Bishop 
of Glasgow protested against a claim of the king to present 
to all benefices in the gift of the bishops, which fell vacant 
between the death of a bishop and the rendering of fealty 
and homage to the king by his successor. In 1420 a 
provincial council asserted the rights of the bishops and 
ordinaries to confirm testamentary dispositions and to 
administer the goods of persons dying intestate. In 1457 
a provincial council gave its voice on behalf of the king, 
as in opposition to the Pope, in respect to the right 
of presenting to ecclesiastical benefices, sede vacante. 
Two years later (1459) the provincial council made a 
declaration that the claim of the king asserted at the 
previous council was supported by ancient custom. In 
1465 a dispute as to certain tithes between the Bishop 
of Dunblane and the Abbat of Arbroath was settled. 
In the next council of which we have record (1470) 
a dispute between the Rector of the University of St. 


Andrews and the Provost of St. Saviour's College as 
to the right of conferring degrees in Arts and Theology 
was settled.^ 

The notices now given suffice to show that the business 
of the provincial council was of a varied description. 
They afford us a few specimens of the kind of questions 
considered and dealt with in the councils. Not one of 
them refers to the enactment of statutes or canons, 
and yet we know that legislation was part of the work 
from time to time of the provincial synods. 

The subject of the constitution of the provincial 
council is of such importance that it may be well, before 
concluding this chapter, to present to the reader certain 
passages from a notarial instrument preserved in the 
Register of Brechin (i. pp. 38-40), which, being added to 
the notice already quoted (p. 230), constitutes the fullest 
account we possess of the membership of the council. In 
1420 there was held in the church of the preaching friars 
at Perth a ' Provincial Synod and General Council of the 
clergy of the realm of Scotland.' After mass, and the 
invocation of the Holy Spirit, and a sermon to the clergy, 
William, Bishop of Dunblane, was elected ' Conservator ot 
the Privileges.' There were present the Bishops of St. 
Andrews, Dunkeld, Aberdeen, and Brechin, and proctors 
of the Bishops of Moray, Candida Casa, and Caithness, 
and of the Bishop, elect and confirmed, of Ross ; the 
Prior of St. Andrews, the Abbats of Cambuskenneth, 
Lindores, Cupar, and Newbottle ; proctors of the Abbats 
of Dunfermline, Kelso (Calcow), Melrose, Holyrood, 
Arbroath, Jedburgh (Ghedworth), Dryburgh, and Paisley ; 
* very many deans, archdeacons, priors of monasteries, 
and the greater part of the clergy, who are customarily 
congregated in council and general synod."' 

Now the question arises, — Who are meant by the 
greater part of the clergy accustomed to be congregated .'' 
Had the parochial clergy any representation ^ The 

^ The original authorities for the notices given above will be found in 
S.E.S. i. pp. Iv-cviii. 

-The words referring to the 'clergy' are, *presentibus 

et majore parte cleri que in Consilio et Synodo Generali consuevit 


answer to this question must, I believe, be in the 
negative. We have the summons to a general council 
preserved in the Register of Moray} It is addressed by 
the conservator to each diocesan bishop, and requires him 
to attend *with the prelates of his diocese, and with fit 
proctors of cliapters, colleges [collegiormi), and convents. 
Not a word is said of the parochial clergy. The collegia 
referred to were, presumably, collegiate churches. It 
would seem then, that besides the prelati there were other 
representatives of the cathedrals, the monasteries, and the 
collegiate churches. These would in most dioceses bring 
a considerable body of ecclesiastics who did not belong to 
the class of either greater or lesser prelates. Other clergy 
were probably present, and might be called on to give 
evidence on some question before the synod ; but were 
not (as I suppose) members of synod. 

III. Provincial Councils {or Synods) after the establishment 
of the Archbishoprics. — When we come to the Scottish 
synods of the sixteenth century we find present in the 
provincial synod of 1549 bishops, vicars general of 
vacant sees, abbats, and priors, including the com- 
mendators of abbeys (among them James, whom we 
know best as the Regent Moray, then a youth of 
eighteen), ten ecclesiastics who were doctors, bachelors, 
or licentiates in theology, three dominicans, and four 
friars minor."^ And of the secular clergy we find eight 
provosts or deans of collegiate churches, and several 
dignitaries (whether representatives or not) of certain 
cathedrals. From the parish clergy we find a solitary 
rector from the diocese of St. Andrews. An examination 
of the lists makes one suspect that the primate and the 
bishops invited whom they would. It seems that one of 
those present was not a member of the Scottish Church, 
Friar Richard Marchell, ' professor divinarum litterarum,' 
—who is described as ' Anglus,' and is supposed to have 
been the prior of the Black Friars at Newcastle. I can 
only offer the conjecture that perhaps he and the other 

1 p. 375, and S.E.S. n. p. 3. 

2 It would seem that it had been designed to have representatives of 
the Austin canons, the Trinitarians, and the Carmelites ; but the names 
of their representatives, if there were any, are not recorded. 


men of learning were present as theological assistants and 

The list of those present at the provincial council of 
1558-9 is not extant, but the acts of the council describe 
it as consisting of * the two archbishops, their suffragan 
bishops, vicars general, abbats, priors, commendators, 
deans, provosts, professors of sacred letters, rectors, and 
other lettered ecclesiastics, representing the Scottish 
Church.' And the letter of the Archbishop of St. 
Andrews to the Archbishop of Glasgow with directions 
for the summoning of the council leaves it to his 
discretion to summon any 'ex famosioribus, consultioribus, 
et prudentioribus de capitulis et clero ' of his church, 
city, diocese, and province. The Archbishop of Glasgow, 
acting on this authority, directs his deans of Christianity 
to summon, together with abbats, priors, commendators, 
usufructuaries, ministers, preceptors, and provosts, 
' insigniores ac probiores rectores et vicarios perpetuos^ and 
goes on to specify more especially six rectors by name. 
It does not appear, however, that any of these were 
selected by their brethren. They were of the parochial 
clergy, but their nomination seems to have rested with 
each bishop for his own diocese. The vicar general of 
Whitherne (the see was vacant) writes to one of his deans 
of Christianity in a similar strain. The choice was 
probably as good as any that might have been made by 
the vote of the parish clergy ; but in a strict sense it was 
not representative.^ 

On a further examination of the list of those present 
at the general synod of 1 549, there seems to be no 
representative of any kind from the diocese of Ross or 
Caithness ; and from Orkney and Dunblane only the 
bishops. Again some dioceses contribute a larger 
number of clergy than others. There certainly seems to 
be nothing like the truly representative assembly found 
in the convocation of the Church of England. I am able 
to offer no reasonable or consistent account of the 
constitution of this synod ; and I lean to the view that 
the bishop of each diocese enjoyed a large discretion 
as to whom he would summon, and that he chose 
1 The evidence will be found in Stat. Eccl. Scot. ii. 140 ff. 


men whom he thought most capable to give counsel or 

Episcopal Synods. — As we have seen, the Lateran council 
directed that the decrees of provincial synods should be 
promulgated in the synods to be celebrated every year in 
each diocese. The notices of such episcopal or diocesan 
synods are not numerous. We possess a body of statutes 
promulgated at Aberdeen in the thirteenth century, and 
another body of statutes promulgated in a diocesan 
synod of St. Andrews in the same century (5th May, 
1242). The latter synod was held in Musselburgh.^ 
This shows that the episcopal synod was not necessarily 
held at the episcopal see. 

Again, in 1235, ^^^ Bishop of Dunblane held a synod 
in the church of Auchterarder, and there he confirmed 
an arrangement as to disputed rights ' coram prelatis et 
clero nostrae diocesis.'^ Again we find another synod 
held at Cask in 1239.^ 

One of the St. Andrews fourteenth century statutes 
ordains that every rector and vicar should have a copy 
of the statutes, and should bring it with him to the synod 
every year, under a penalty of forty shillings. This 
points to the obligation of attendance by all the bene- 
ficed clergy. The heads of religious houses within the 
diocese (unless specially exempted) were bound to attend. 
But the claim sometimes made by bishops that the heads 
of monasteries possessing parishes in their dioceses, though 
the monastery itself was situated in another diocese, were 
bound to attend, does not seem to have been sustained.^ 

Additional Note. 

ji Summary Account of Scottish Legatine Councils^ before 
the year \iii^. 

The original authorities for what follows will be found 
collected and exhibited at length by Robertson (S.E.S. 
i. pp. xxvi-xliv). 

^S.E.S. ii. pp. 30, 53. 2 Chartulary ofLindores, p. 55. '^Ibid. p. 59. 

^ See the able legal opinion on the subject arising out of the claims of 
the Bishops of Aberdeen and Brechin that the Abbat ofLindores, in the 
diocese of St. Andrews, should attend their synods. Chartulary of the 
Abbey ofLindores, pp. 212 fF. 


(i) A.D. 1 125, at Roxburgh, Cardinal John, of Crema, 
held a council of Scottish Bishops, to investigate and 
discuss the controversy between the Archbishop of York 
and the bishops as to jurisdiction ; the Pope reserving 
the final decision to the judgment of the Apostolic see. 

(2) A.D. 1 138, at Carlisle (then subject to Scotland), 
Cardinal Alberic, Bishop of Ostia, legate of Innocent 
II. The Scottish clergy, who had favoured the Antipope 
(Anacletus), unanimously submit to Innocent. The Gal- 
wegian Picts promise to release the women whom they 
had carried captive, and in future to spare in warfare 
women, children, the aged, and the sick. Bishop John 
of Glasgow is recalled to his see. This council lasted for 
three days, 

(3) A.D. 1 1 64, at Norham, on the Tweed, Roger, 
Archbishop of York, legate of Alexander III. The 
Scottish clergy by certain representatives disclaim the 
legate's authority, on the ground of its having been 
surreptitiously obtained. They appeal to Rome. 

(4) A.D. 1 175-6, at Northampton, Cardinal Huggucio 
Petrileonis, legate to England. Many (Fordun says all) 
of the Scottish bishops attended. They deny that they 
owe obedience to the Church of England. 

(5) A.D. 1 177, at the Castle of Edinburgh {apud castrum 
puellarum) Cardinal Vivian Tomasi held a council, renew- 
ing {renovans, but according to another reading, revocans) 
many old statutes. The immunities of the Cistercians 
were curtailed. 

(6) A.D. 1 1 80, at Holyrood, Edinburgh, Alexis, legate, 
heard the cause between John Scot and Hugh, the rivals 
for possession of the bishopric of St. Andrews, and 
decided in favour of John. 

(7) A.D. 1 20 1, at Perth, Cardinal John of Salerno heard 
and determined a controversy between the monks of 
Kelso and the Bishops of St. Andrews and Glasgow ; and 
enacted many canons. 

(8) A.D. 1 2 12, at Perth, William Malvoisin, Bishop of 
St. Andrews, and Walter, Bishop of Glasgow, had been 
granted legatine powers. The bishops, in obedience to 
the desire of the Pope, agreed to preach a crusade tor the 
relief of Jerusalem. 


(9) A.D. 1220, place not ascertained, Cardinal Giles 
(Aegidius) of Torres, as Apostolic Nuncio, received a 
subsidy for the relief of the Holy Land.^ 

(10) A.D. 1221, at Perth, James, Canon of St. Victor, 
at Paris, legate. The council sat for four days, A 
question as to matrimonial law in regard to Allan of 
Galloway, Constable of Scotland, inquired into. A dis- 
pute between the prior and canons of St. Andrews, on 
the one part, and their bishop and the keledei of that 
city, on the other, inquired into. The king (Alexander 
II.) requests that he may be crowned by the legate. 
The request is referred to the Pope. 

^ It may be questioned whether the name council should be applied 
to this gathering of ' all the Scottish prelates at the command of 
-^gidius, the Apostolic Nuncio ' {Scotichronicon, lib. ix. cap. 36). He 
seems to have come to obtain the subsidy of the twentieth part of all 
ecclesiastical goods, which had been enjoined in the Lateran council 
(12 1 5), and to have accomplished his mission. The summoning of all 
the prelates was perhaps only as an effective means to this end. 



The matters treated of in the legislative enactments of the 
Scottish synods are very various in kind. The statutes 
deal chiefly with the duties and the conduct of the 
clergy, but occasionally they concern directly the lives 
of the lay-people. 

There is little or nothing of systematic arrangement in 
the contents of the collections of statutes which have come 
down to us. In the description which follows I have 
placed under separate heads the substance of statutes, 
mainly of the thirteenth century, scattered in various 
places. The description is necessarily as brief as is 
consistent with clearness. 

Many of the ordinances are only republications of 
provisions of the general canon law of western Chris- 
tendom ; and, as has been said, many are derived from 
the enactments of synodical or episcopal constitutions 
made in various English dioceses. I have thought it 
better to omit, or but refer to in the briefest way, the 
many statutes which are dealt with elsewhere in these 
pages. And such a work as the present is obviously 
not the place for treating the minute particulars of 
ritual and ceremonial, however interesting these might 
be to a few technical students of liturgiology. 1 must 
be content with the broader and more essential features 
of the subjects treated.^ 

^ It is to be hoped that before long Dr. Patrick's promised volume of 
a translation of the statutes may be issued by the Scottish History Society, 
when the curious, who have no opportunity of studying Robertson's 
Slatuta Eccksiae Scoticanae, will find all the details. [The volume referred 
to was published in 1907.] 


I. The Faith of the Church. The Catholic faith was to 
be taught by all prelates to those who were subject to 
them ; and the parish clergy were to instruct their par- 
ishioners, and to enjoin on them the duty of teaching 
their children to know and observe the articles of the 
Christian faith.^ In another statute the Lord's Prayer 
and the Symbol, that is, the Apostle's Creed, are mentioned 
as the subjects of the parish priests' instructions.- 

II. The Sacraments. The * form ' of the sacraments 
(that is, the prescribed formulae of words, which were 
held to be necessary to the validity of the several sacra- 
ments) was in each case to be rigidly adhered to. 

(i) Baptism. Priests were enjoined to teach the people 
frequently the ' form ' of baptism, that is, the words, ' I 
baptise thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, 
and of the Holy Ghost, Amen,' so that they might be 
able to perform the duty of baptising infants in case of 
necessity. The form might be said either in English 
{Anglico ydiomate) or in Latin.^ It is strange that the use 
of Gaelic is not mentioned. The statutes from which this 
order is derived were promulgated at Aberdeen ; but 
even in that diocese there must have been places where 
Gaelic was the vernacular. 

Out of reverence for the sacrament, the water in which 
a child was baptised by a lay person was to be thrown 
into the fire or else taken to the church, and there poured 
into the font. Similarly the vessel used was either to be 
burned or taken to the church for the church's use.* 

The priest was careful to inquire, in the case of 
baptisms by laymen, what words were used ; and if he 
was doubtful whether the proper ' form ' had been em- 
ployed he was to administer baptism conditionally in this 
manner, * N. If thou hast been baptised, I do not baptise 
thee ; but if thou hast not been baptised, I baptise thee in 
the name, etc' 

The number and sex of the sponsors, and the subject 
of the chrism-clothes are noticed elsewhere.^ 

(2) Confirmation. When the parish priest heard of the 
coming of the bishop, he was to warn his parishioners to 

^S.E.S. ii. 10. '^Ibtd. 51. ^Ibid. ii. 30. 

'^Ibid. 5 pp. 261, 263. 


bring the children to the bishop to be confirmed. If the 
candidate for confirmation were grown up he was, if time 
permitted, to make his confession before being confirmed. 
A male should act as sponsor for a male at confirmation 
and a female for a female. 

The laity were to be admonished that spiritual relation- 
ship (an impediment to matrimony) was created by the 
sacrament of confirmation as well as by the sacrament of 
baptism.^ This impediment to matrimony is noticed 
elsewhere (see pp. 261-2). 

The age at which confirmation was to be administered 
is not stated, but doubtless it was, as in England, as soon 
after baptism as the visit of the bishop would allow.- 

(3) Penance. Every parishioner, who had reached 
years of discretion, was bound to make confession to his 
own parish-priest, or to a priest licensed by him, at least 
once a year at the beginning of Lent. After ' a fall ' he 
was to make confession as speedily as possible. Women 
big with child were to go to the church at the beginning of 
the ninth month, make their confession, and receive the 
Communion 'otherwise the priest will not go to her.'^ 
Priests were to hear confessions where he and the penitent 
might be seen, but not overheard. As is well known, 
confessional-boxes were unknown in Scotland or England 
during the medieval period. Sensible directions are given 
to the priest as to his manner in hearing confessions, and 
he is cautioned to avoid questions which might suggest 
unthought-of sins to the more innocent.* In cases where 
he is in doubt as to whether he ought to give absolution, 
he is to consult the bishop, or ' discreet man,' by whose 
advice he is to ' bind or loose.' ^ 

(4) The Eucharist. Omitting some interesting ritual 
details as to the celebration of the Mass, we may notice that 
the words of the Canon of the Mass were to be said 

'^S.E.S. ii. 31. 

- Sec Maskcll's Monumenta Ritualia, i. pp. cclv-cclviii. 

'■^S.E.S. ii. 45. 

^ The language of these directions is almost word for word that of 
the constitutions of St. Edmund of Canterbury (1236). If'.C. i. 637. 

'•'S.E.S. li. 32. 


rotunde et distincte, and that priests were forbidden to 
celebrate more tlian once each day unless at Christmas 
and Easter, or when a corpse about to be buried was 
present in the church, or when there was some plainly 
urgent necessity. 

Every lay person who had come to years of discretion 
was to receive the Communion at Easter, unless by 
direction of his own priest he abstained for a reasonable 
cause. The injunction of the yearly communion was 
enforced under the penalty of the person being forbidden 
entrance to the Church while living, and denied Christian 
burial, when dead. 

The Eucharist was reserved ; and what remained of 
the reserved hosts (not used in communicating the sick) 
was to be consumed, when, on the Sunday, fresh hosts 
were consecrated. 

The reserved host was to be taken, when required, to 
the sick. It was to be borne in a pyx by the priest 
vested in his surplice, and preceded by a bell and a light, 
unless the sick man lived at too great a distance, or the 
weather was bad.^ In such cases no doubt the priest did 
not neglect to communicate the sick, but the usual 
ceremonial procession was dispensed with, and the priest 
would travel on horseback to distant places. The priest 
was to carry a silver or pewter {stanneuni) vessel, from 
which he was to give to the sick the ablutions of his (the 
priest's) fingers after he had been communicated.'^ The 
Eucharist was not to be taken to the sick at night unless 
in the case of sudden illness.^ 

(5) Extreme Unction. — The 'oil of the sick' was to be 
borne with reverence to the sick, who was to be anointed 
free of charge as in the case of the other sacraments. 
This sacrament might be administered as often as there 
was need ; and if the sick person recovered he was to be 
instructed that he was not forbidden opus conjugale. The 
latter direction was given because of a superstition 
current in England and Scotland that to live as husband 

Mi. 34. 

"Ibid. The language seems to be taken from the constitutions of St. 
Edmund (1236). W.C. i. 638. 
sS.jF.S. ii. 45. 


and wife was a sin after the last unction had been 

(6) Matrimony. — The statutes bearing on this subject 
are noticed in the chapter on the medieval marriage-law 
of Scotland. 

(7) Orders. — The Scottish statutes which have come 
down to us contain little under this head. The bishop is 
forbidden to ordain clerks from another diocese without 
the consent of the bishop of the other diocese.^ 

III. The Burial of the Dead, etc, — A thirteenth century- 
statute forbids the unseemly practice of singing and 
dancing at the funeral rites of lay persons, ' since it is 
indecent to indulge in laughter when others weep.' ^ This 
perhaps refers to the gaieties of the ' wake,' which are still 
discouraged, with too little effect, by Roman Catholic 
priests in Ireland. 

The funeral dues, mortuaries, or corse-presents, are 
noticed elsewhere.^ The tricennale, or sum paid for 
saying thirty masses for the deceased, was to be divided 
between the parson (or rector) and the chaplain ; and 
the same rule was to hold in regard to the anniversary. 
Heirs were bound to pay the dues of the Church if the 
deceased died insolvent.^ 

IV. Holy-days in Relation to Labour. — We possess an 
enactment of a provincial synod, assigned by Joseph 
Robertson to the fifteenth century, enjoining a cessation 
from all servile labour on certain holy-days and declaring 
that the days specified were to be the only days to be so 
observed. Beside the Sundays they, when counted, 
reach the number of 45.*^ Even allowing for the fact 
that every year several of these holy-days would coincide 
with Sundays, it is obvious that the cessation from labour 

^This curious notion seems to have long persisted in England. It is 
referred to and condemned by ^Ifric (Thorpe, ii. 179), and we find 
Walter de Cantelupe in his Worcester statutes (1240) saying, 'Sunt 
autem quidam, ut audivimus, qui post perceptionem hujusmodi sacra- 
menti {i.e. unctionis cxtremae), sanitati pristinae restituti, ncfas reputant 
vel uxores suas cognoscere, vel carnes comedere, vel etiam aliqua ratione 
nudis pedibus ambulare. Horum autem errorem, utpote doctrinae 
sanae contrarium, cxccramur,' etc. Wilkins' Concil. i. 669. See also pp. 
595, 660, etc. 

^5.£.5. ii. 14. ^ii. 40. ■* pp. 186-190. ''S.£.5. ii. 40. *^5.£'.5. ii. 74. 


on so many days must have made a considerable inroad 
upon the industries of the country. The State fell in 
with the Church in its enactments on the subject of 
holy-days. For the better observance of Whitsunday 
and Martinmas it was enacted by Parliament in 1469 
that the removal and entry of tenants, and poindings 
for rent should be deferred to the third day after these 
festivals. By the same act it was enjoined that no fairs 
be held on holy-days, but that they be deferred to their 
morrow. 1 But it was found necessary to restrain the 
desire of working men to further extend the holy-days 
enjoined by the Church ; and the same Parliament passed 
an act declaring that as the holy-day extended only ' from 
even-song to even-song,' masons, wrights, and other 
craftsmen should work on Saturdays and other festival 
eves till four hours after noon under pain of losing the 
week's fee, and that they keep no more festivals than 
the great solemn festivals prescribed by the Church ; and 
that if any does the contrary, ' the ordinary lead process 
of cursing against them.' -^ 

In 1503 Parliament passed an act that fairs and markets 
were not to be held on holy-days, nor, on any day, ' within 
kirkes and kirkyardes,' under the pain of escheating of 
the goods. ^ Sentiment had changed much since the 
earlier part of our period. A charter of King William 
fixed Sunday as the market-day in a grant to the Bishops 
and Keledei of Brechin.* It was not till 1466 that the 
market-day was changed to Monday by James III.^ 

It will be remembered that St. Margaret, wife of 
Malcolm Ceanmor, in her discussions with the native 
clergy, had argued against the prevalent disregard of the 
Lord's Day. Yet it does not seem that she aimed at 
more than the cessation of the more exhausting and 
arduous forms of labour.^ 

1 Jet. Pari. ii. 95. 

2 Ibid. p. 97. The notion of Parliament enacting that the bishop should 
excommunicate those who would not work on working days is rather 
foreign to our ideas of the independence of the Church. 

3 Jet. Pari. ii. 245. ^^eg. Breeh. i. 3. "-' Ibid. ii. 108. 

^ ' Ut nee onera quaelibet his diebus quisquam portare, nee alius alium 
ad hoc auderet compellere,' Vita 5. Mdrgaretae,% 16. 


V. Disciplinary Regulations relating to the Clergy. 

(i) Obedience to the lawful and canonical commands 
of bishops, archdeacons, and deans of Christianity was 
enforced by suspension from office, and in the case of 
continued contumacy by heavier penalties. 

(2) The clergy were to wear dress sufficiently long, 
and not of green, red, or striped (yirgatis) cloth. The 
injunction against striped clothing is frequent in ecclesi- 
astical canons in other parts of Europe, and therefore 
must not be supposed, as some have imagined, to have 
been specially directed against the use of the Scottish 
tartan. Vicars and priests were to wear over their other 
clothing a closed cloak {cappam clausam). The tonsure 
was to be apparent. These injunctions were to be 
enforced under the penalty of suspension from office,^ 

(3) The clergy were not to be of drunken habits, or to 
visit taverns unless when compelled by necessity, as when 
making a journey. They were not to play at dice. 

(4) They were not to engage in commerce, or to lend 
money at interest. 

(5) They were bound to say the ' divine office,' that is 
the service of the breviary, for the night as well as the 
day hours." 

(6) Incontinence is forbidden by numerous statutes ; 
and common concubinage of the clergy is dealt with 
elsewhere. They are forbidden to frequent nunneries 
without reasonable cause. No woman was to be kept 
in the manse as to whom there could be any suspicion.^ 
The temptations afforded by the confessional are noticed. 
A bishop or priest who sins with a woman whose confes- 
sions he has heard should be punished as if he had sinned 
with his ' spiritual daughter,' i.e. one whom he had 
baptised or confirmed. The bishop should do penance 
for fifteen years, the priest for twelve. And, if the 
scandal comes to the knowledge of the people, he is to 
be deposed.* 

VI. Tithes. — The statutes on this subject are noticed 

VII, Resistance on the part of the Laity to Ecclesiastical 

1 S.f.S. ii. I 2, 13, 35. '"i''35- ^i'-5'- * ii. 28-29. 


(i) Pressure put upon the clergy, by the feudal 
superior of persons who were suffering from the sentence 
of excommunication or interdict, to have the sentence 
relaxed, was to be sternly resisted. If the pressure went 
the length of interfering with the goods of the Church, 
movable or immovable, the bishop should punish the 

(2) If any person was excommunicated by one bishop 
any of the other bishops was bound, if requested, to 
proclaim him excommunicate. The places through which 
the excommunicated person passed should, so long as he 
tarried there, be put under interdict. An exception, how- 
ever, was made in the case of the excommunicated person 
being in attendance on the king or the queen or at 
Parliament.- In 1280 we find the Bishop of Moray 
in the provincial council held at Perth calling on the 
bishops throughout Scotland to publish in their several 
dioceses sentences of suspension, excommunication, and 
interdict, passed on Sir William de Fenton, lord of Beau- 
ford in the Aird, by papal judges delegate in a dispute 
with the bishop about land belonging to one of the parish 

(3) From a thirteenth century statute we learn that the 
Church suffered much from the common practice of the 
nobility demanding hospitality for themselves and their 
retinue in their journeys for business or amusement. Not 
only the monasteries, but even the manses of the parochial 
clergy, were often thus invaded by the magnates, with their 
horses, hawks, and hounds. Any layman so offending 
after the promulgation of this statute, no matter what 
his dignity or office, unless specially invited (the king or 
his children excepted in cases where they were the patrons 
of the places and had a right to hospitality), should be 
subjected to the greater excommunication with bell and 
candle. Any ecclesiastic who had suffered in the way 
described was bound to inform the bishop, the arch- 
deacon, or their officials within one month under pain 
of suspension. The delinquent layman should not be 
released from his sentence by any but the conservator 
of the council of the Scottish Church.^ 

^S.E.S. ii. 29. - ii. 27-28. ^ Reg. Moraz'. 14.0-142. ^ ii. 49-50. 



These notices of ecclesiastical legislation must be 
regarded only as specimens. Many other interesting 
particulars of various kinds will be found by the 

^ It may be permitted to notice the curious statute which appears more 
than once — that mothers and nurses should be warned ' every Sunday ' 
against having infant children to sleep in bed with them, lest they might 
be overlain. The injunction is not peculiar to Scotland, as we find it in 
more than one collection of English statutes. The danger still exists, 
and the enactment is referred to here as showing the beneficent interest 
of the Church in the domestic life of the people. In Sir Henry 
Littlejohn's '^epori (p. i8), as Medical Officer of Health, for the year 
1902, we read that no less than 21 infants were in that year suffocated 
by being overlain in the city of Edinburgh. Mothers were also to be 
warned by the parish priest of the dangers of leaving young children in 
places where they might be burned or fall into water. 



The law of the Church in regard to matrimony was 
naturally the outcome of the doctrine of the theologians. 
According to the medieval theologians matrimony is the 
bond uniting a man and a woman who have given them- 
selves wholly to one another, under pledge of lifelong 
fidelity. Matrimony was regarded as a sacrament ; and 
according to the most distinguished medieval divines the 
ministers of the sacrament were the parties themselves. 
The presence of a priest was not necessary to the essence 
of marriage. That a marriage should be regular, that is, 
in accordance with the rules of the Church, a priest should 
be present at the mutual giving of the promises of future 
marriage, the espousals, or, as it was technically styled, 
the contract, or spousals, per verba de futuro. It was also 
dutiful that the marriage proper, the contract per verba de 
presenti, should take place in the presence of the priest, 
and that the contract should have the Church's benedic- 
tion. But the marriage was reckoned as perfectly valid, 
though not regular, if the contract per verba de presenti 
was made between any man and woman who were not 
suffering from any canonical impediment. A marriage 
might be clandestine, and irregular in other ways, but 
yet perfectly valid. In the view of the Church no priest 
needed to be present, and if a contract of marriage was 
made, and the marriage was consummated {carnali copula^, 
the marriage was in its essence complete, and was indis- 

There is not the slightest historical evidence for 


supposing that either England or Scotland in the medieval 
period differed from the rest of western Christendom 
in regard to what the Church believed as to the essentials 
of a valid marriage. It is an entirely different question 
how far the civil law concurred with or differed from the 
law of the Church, more particularly with respect to the 
retrospective effect of marriage on the rights of inherit- 
ance of children born before wedlock. 

The marriage law of Scotland of to-day, which ignorant 
people suppose to be due to the laxity of morals conse- 
quent on the great religious changes in the sixteenth 
century, is really the survival (in regard to what are 
known as irregular marriages) of the doctrine and practice 
of the medieval Church. 

To deal with the vexed question whether in the medi- 
eval period a promise of marriage {^per verba de futuro), 
followed by copula^ was regarded as constituting true 
matrimony in all respects would occupy more space than 
can be here afforded to it. The question has been treated 
with much learning by Lord Eraser in his Treatise on 
Husband and Wife according to the Law of Scotland (chapter 
vii.). Two points at least are certain ; first, a promise 
of marriage followed by copula constituted a relationship 
not dissolvable at the will of either party, nor by the 
mutual consent of both parties ; secondly, the relation- 
ship thus created formed a ground for the declaration 
of the nullity of a subsequent marriage of one of the 
parties to a third party, though it were solemnised in 
the face of the Church.^ 

It is certainly very remarkable, and speaks much for 
the penetrating intelligence of the great medieval theo- 
logians, that in an age when there was every temptation 
to exalt the importance of the priesthood, and when In 
truth sacerdotal pretensions obtruded themselves Into 
almost every province of human action, there was sub- 
stantial unanimity on the doctrine that the intervention 

^ It will be noted in the case of the divorce of Duke of Albany and 
Lady Catherine Sinclair in 1477 (see p. 294.) that nullity is pronounced, 
not because the connexion of the duke and the lady had been created 
by only a promise and copula, but because the parties were within the 
forbidden degrees of kin. 


of a priest was not essential to the validity of the sacra- 
ment of matrimony. 

The medieval Church in Scotland, as elsewhere, was 
painfully aware of the evils that were consequent on 
clandestine unions, and the temptations to which the 
young were thus exposed. Many ecclesiastical enactments 
were promulgated enjoining that espousals {sponsalia)^ or 
what we should now call ' the engagement,' should not be 
secret, and that banns of marriage should be proclaimed, 
and marriages celebrated in public. But, nevertheless, 
it held fast by the doctrine already stated as to the 
essentials of matrimony. Without a clear apprehension 
of this fact the proceedings of the consistorial courts, 
and the purport of many papal dispensations will be 
wholly unintelligible. 

The desire of the Church to secure publicity to a 
contract of such signal importance in the life of anyone 
is sufficiently indicated by the following statutes of the 
Scottish synods of the thirteenth century. 

(i) ' Since matrimony is known to have been instituted 
in Paradise by God Himself, and is, as regards its origin, 
the first among the Sacraments, to the end that for the 
future it may be freely and canonically contracted, we 
ordain that a pledge of intended matrimony {fides de 
matrimonio contrahendo) is not to be made except in the 
presence of the priest and three or four male persons 
(viris), who are worthy of credit and have been specially 
called together for the purpose.' 

(2) ' Let no priest presume to join together any persons 
in matrimony unless after proclamation made three times 
publicly and solemnly in church, according to the form 
prescribed by the general council, so that he who wishes 
and is able {yoluerit et valuerit) may object a lawful 
impediment.' ^ 

The fourth Lateran council (can. 51) enacted that 
' the special custom of certain places ' should be made 
general, so that when matrimony was about to be 

^ S.E.S. ii. 36-37. Yet it would seem that at least in the second half 
of the fourteenth century banns were often neglected. A papal letter of 
Gregory XI. speaks of marriage without banns as a custom in those parts 
[Scotland], Cal Pap. Reg. iv. 195. 


contracted proclamation of the intended matrimony should 
be made publicly in church by the priest to the end 
that within a suitable time (which should be announced) 
he, qui voluerit et valuerit, might declare a lawful impedi- 
ment. The triple proclamation is not ordered, nor is the 
language in which the proclamation is to be made 
prescribed by the general council. From this it appears 
that the word ' form ' in the Scottish statute must be 
understood, not of the exact terms of the proclamation, 
but, of (rt) publication, {b) in the church, (c) by the 
priest, with {d) a prescribed limit of time within which 
objection might be taken.^ 

(3) ' Let priests forbid, under pain of excommunication, 
anyone concealing out of malice impediments to matri- 
mony, or out of malice raising impediments.' 

(4) < Nevertheless the priest himself shall also make 
inquiry whether any impediment presents an obstacle ; 
and when there appears a probable ground against con- 
tracting the union, let the contract be expressly interdicted 
until what ought to be done in the matter is made 
evident by manifest proofs.' ^ 

(5) ' We also prohibit clandestine marriages, and forbid 
any priest presuming to be present at such. And let him, 
who does so contrary to this ordinance, be punished 
according to the canon.' 

The next provision will be made intelligible when we 
come to speak of the prohibited degrees. 

(6) ' Let the priest declare to his parishioners that 
matrimony is forbidden within the fourth degree of 
consanguinity or affinity. Beyond the fourth degree 
it is lawfully contracted.' 

This statute would seem to have been enacted while 
the old rule, which was in force up to the Lateran council 
(121 5), was still in men's memories. Up to 12 15 
marriages were forbidden within the seventh degree. An 
impediment on this, or any other lawful ground, might 
be alleged at the time of the ceremony of marriage to stay- 
proceeding. We have an instance of the objection of 

^ See Mansi, torn. xxii. col. 1038. 

'S.E.S. ii. p. 37. This is ukcn subst.mtially from canon 51 of the 
fourth Lateran council. 


the parties being * within the third and fourth or fourth 
and fourth degrees of consanguinity ' alleged at the 
wedding of Sir Patrick Hepburn in 1510 ; and an answer 
being given by the production of a dispensation from 
Alexander [Stewart], Archbishop of St, Andrews.^ 

The next provision deals with the impediments to 
marriage which were regarded as arising out of spiritual 
relationship. These will be considered later on. 

A fuller statement with respect to the publication of 
banns will be found in a subsequent statute of the same 
collection. It is entitled (7) ' That matrimony is not to 
be contracted without banns,' and runs as follows : 
* Likewise we forbid any contracting matrimony without 
proclamation made three times solemnly in the church 
of the parish where they live, if they both live in the same 
parish. If they live in different parishes, let the espousals 
\sponsalia) be proclaimed in each parish church. And let 
them not be contracted without trustworthy and lawful 
witnesses.' '^ 

As there is good reason for believing- that the form of 
marriage in Scotland, when celebrated ' in the face of the 
Church ' (which, it may be observed, is explained by 
Lyndwood as meaning, not merely in the presence of 
the priest, but publicly in the church), followed the rite 
of Sarum, it may be of interest to give the form of the 
letter prescribed by the Sarum Manual to be sent by the 
priest of one parish to the priest of another parish when 
the parties were not residing in the same parish. 'We 
do you to wit that our parishioner Richard N. is not in 
our registers under any sentence of excommunication. 
Nor do we know of any canonical impediment on account 
of which the sacraments of the Church should be denied 
him, or even postponed. Moreover, in our said parish 
church, we have publicly and solemnly proclaimed, or caused 
to be proclaimed, on three Sundays, or solemn festivals, 
the three banns {tria banna) for the solemnisation of 
intended matrimony between him and Margaret N. To 
these banns no opposition or contradiction was made. 
We beseech therefore your discretion^ to couple together 

'^ Laing Charters, No. 278. -S.E.S. ii. p. 42. 

^'Titulus honorarius.' See Ducange, s.v. 


in matrimony our parishioner Richard N. with Margaret 
N. your parishioner, per verba de presently in your church, 
unless on your side there may be some impediment which 
stands in the way. And by the tenor of these presents we 
certify these things to all who are, or, in the future, 
may be concerned. Given under the seal of our church 

aforesaid, on the day of month of the year 

' 1 

(8) ' Matrimony is by no means to be contracted be- 
tween persons unknown, nor between known persons 
unless it has been preceded by a threefold solemn pro- 
clamation, both of the man and the woman on three 
Sundays.' ^ 

In what seems to be a later collection of Scottish statutes 
preserved in a manuscript in the Library of Lambeth 
Palace, and assigned by Joseph Robertson to the four- 
teenth century, we find the following : 

(9) ' We enact that those who desire to contract espousals, 
whether per verba de presenti or per verba de futuro, shall 
contract them in presence of a priest and of trustworthy 
witnesses ; and we add the injunction that on the next 
Sundays and festivals the banns shall be proclaimed after 
the manner of the Church, The nuptial benediction shall 
follow as speedily as may be, and it should be given, not 
in private chapels, nor at night {in tenebris), but solemnly 
and openly in their parish churches.' ^ 

The same collection of Scottish statutes enacts : 
(10) 'That those who contract betrothals of this kind 
[that is, without witnesses] shall be subjected to canonical 
punishment, as though they were fornicators.' It will be 
observed that the statute does not assert that those who 
thus disregarded the rule of the Church were fornicators, 
but that canonical penance inflicted on fornicators should 
also be inflicted on them. Such marriages and espousals 
were irregular and liable to canonical penalties ; but they 
were not invalid. 

So that the promise of marriage was distinct and un- 
ambiguous, the Church does not seem to have been 

^ The original will be found (taken from the Sarum Manual) in 
Maskcll's Mo7iumrnta Rttual'hi, vol. i. p. cclxvi. 

-S.E.S. ii. p. 58. '^S.E.S. ii. p. 68. 


scrupulous as to its exact form ; but we happen to have 
preserved in the Liber Officialis S. Andree (p. 21) an 
example of a form in the vernacular, which had been 
actually used. One David Johnson had given his pro- 
mise of marriage in the following words : ' I promytt to 
zow Begis Abirnethy that I sail mary zow, and that I 
sail nevere haiffane uther wiff, and therto I giff zow my 
fayth.' This was at the private espousals ; but being 
in this case followed by cohabitation it was reckoned a 
valid marriage, causing sentence of divorce of the man from 
a subsequent marriage duly solemnised four years later. 

The Impediments to Matrimony from the Prohibited Degrees 
of Consanguinity and Affinity. 

During the period with which we are concerned we 
have two distinct epochs. The first extends to the year 
121 5, when the fourth Lateran council made an alteration 
in the marriage laws of the Church ; the second extends 
from 12 1 5 to the Reformation. By the time of Queen 
Margaret the rule had come to be well established that 
no persons related to one another by consanguinity up to 
and including the seventh degree could lawfully marry. ^ 
The fourth Lateran council restricted the prohibition to 
the fourth degree, whether of consanguinity or affinity. 

It is necessary to say a few words to explain what is 
meant by a degree, and how degrees were computed 
according to the principles of the canon law. Consan- 
guinity is the relationship created by descent from a 
common parentage. A son or a daughter was said to be 
related to his or her father in the first degree ; a grandson, 
or granddaughter, in the second degree, and so forth. In 
the direct ascending or descending line no difficulty arises; 
and so far the same mode of computation was followed by 
the civilians and the canonists. It is diffisrent, however, 
when we have to deal with relationships in the transverse 
or collateral lines. Let us ask, for instance, in what 

^ The prohibitions extending to the seventh degree were fully estab- 
lished in England, if not earlier, certainly by 1075, when we find the 
rule laid down in the Constitutions of Archbishop Lanfranc. See Wilkins' 
Concilia, i. 363. 



degree of consanguinity are first-cousins related to one 
another ? In answer the canonists simply counted the 
steps {gradus) between the persons and the common 
ancestor. First-cousins have a common ancestor in their 
grandfather, and, as there are only two steps between a 
grandchild and a grandfather, according to the canonists 
first-cousins were related to one another in the second 
degree. Similarly, second-cousins were related to one 
another in the third degree, and third-cousins in the 
fourth degree. 

Let us suppose, again, that the grandson of a man 
desired to marry the great-granddaughter of the same 
ancestor, in the collateral lines. According to the rule of 
the canonists the steps, or degrees, between the most 
remote from the common ancestor were counted, and the 
parties were said to be related to one another in the third 
degree. When precision was sought, as in the case of 
sentences in the consistorial courts and petitions to the 
Pope for dispensations, the relationship of each of the 
parties to the common ancestor is expressed.^ Thus in 
the divorce case brought by James Stirling (son of Sir 
John Stirling, of Keir) against Janet Stirling (daughter 
and heiress of Andrew Stirling, of Cadder), in the year 
1 54 1, the marriage, which had been celebrated in the face 
of the Church, was declared dissolved and the parties 
divorced, because James and Janet were related to one 
another in the fourth and fourth degree of consanguinity.' - 
They were in other words third-cousins, each being each 
a great-great-grandchild of a common ancestor. Again, 
Sibilla Haitly obtained a divorce from Gilbert Ormiston (the 
marriage having been solemnised in the face of the Church) 
in the consistorial court of the official ot Lothian on the 
ground that Sibilla and Gilbert were related in the third 
and fourth degree of consanguinity. In other words 

1 We find Wyntoun in the course of his narrative describing the 
relationship of Henry II. of England and Malcolm I\'. thus : 

* For off consangwnytc 
The thryd and thryd thai ware in gre.' 
The word 'gre' is for 'degree' [gnidus). Both were great-grandsons 
of Malcolm Canmorc and Margaret. Cronykil, B. vii. c. 7. 

2 Lib. Of S. Andr. p. 68. 


Sibilla was a great-granddaughter and Gilbert was a great- 
great-grandson of the same common ancestor. And 
numerous other examples may be found in the Liber 
Officialis S. Andree. But it was obviously sufficient to 
state the relationship of the most remote from the common 
ancestor. Yet we find examples where doubts were raised 
in a case of a dispensation when the degrees of both the 
parties were not accurately given.^ And it was customary 
to give full information. 

The mode of counting the degrees of consanguinity in 
the transverse or collateral line, as adopted by the civil 
law, was different. The number of degrees from the 
common ancestor on one side was added to the number 
of similar degrees on the other. Thus, first-cousins were 
said to be related to one another in the fourth degree ; 
second-cousins, in the sixth degree ; while a first-cousin 
was related to a first-cousin once removed in the fifth 
degree, and so forth. But in ecclesiastical records, unless 
the contrary is distinctly stated, the computation of degrees 
is always in accordance with the method of the canon Law. 

* Afiinity ' was another impediment. ' Affinity ' is a 
term used to express the relationship of a third party 
arising out of the corporal connexion between a man and a 
woman. It was created equally, according to the canonists 
(though not according to the civilians), whether the 
connexion was illicit or not. The principle on which the 
canonists argued was that the man and the woman 
become ' one flesh,' and that therefore the man is related 
to each of the members of the woman's family in the same 
degree as she herself is related to each of them. The 
same was true of the woman in regard to the family of 
the man. Thus the woman's third-cousin was regarded 
as being the man's third-cousin ; and between the man and 
the woman's third-cousin marriage was therefore pro- 
hibited. During the medieval period in a country like 
Scotland, which certainly, to say the least, was not eminent 
for the chastity of either sex, the doctrine of the canon 
law gave a wide extent to the opportunities for divorce. 
And the records of the consistorial courts show how 
largely, as a matter of fact, such opportunities were taken 
^ See Laing Chart ersy No. 663. 


advantage of. The divorces on the ground of affinity 
were granted sometimes in cases of second marriages, 
when, wittingly or unwittingly, a man had gone through 
the ceremony of marriage with a second wife who was 
related to his first wife within the prohibited degrees of 
consanguinity, but more frequently in cases when an act 
of pre-nuptial unchastity on the part of the man or the 
woman had involved, as his or her partner in guilt, some 
one related within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity 
to the bride or the bridegroom.^ 

An example may be cited from the consistory court 
of Galloway, sitting at Kirkcudbright, in 1522. Gavin 
Kennedy of Blairquhan, knight, sought (1520) a decree 
of nullity of his pretended marriage with Elena Campbell, 
on the ground that long before he had had intercourse 
with a certain Cristina Ferguson related to Elena in the 
fourth and fourth degree.- 

Impediments to Matrimony arising from Spiritual Relationship, 

Beside the impediments to matrimony arising from the 
relationships of consanguinity and affinity, impediments 
were created by what is known as spiritual relationship 
{cognatio spiritualis). To discuss at length the questions 
arising from the doctrine of the medieval Church on this 
subject would be out of place. It will be enough to 
explain, in a simple way, what is meant, so that the 
language of medieval records may be understood. Spiritual 
relationship arises from the giving or receiving of certain 
of the sacraments. For example, the person who adminis- 
ters the sacrament of baptism is forbidden to marry the 
person baptised ; nor is the child of the baptiser permitted 
to marry the baptised. As a layman, or a woman, was 

^ The judicial pronouncements of the judge of the consistorial court 
seldom enable us to identify, at this distance of time, the parties in the 
suits. But occasionally historic figures come before us. Thus the 
misconduct of William, Earl of Montrose, 'qui deccssit apud Howdoune 
in anno Domini m.d.xiii.,' was declared to have made null the subse- 
quent marriage of the lady with Ninian Seytone of Tulybody, who was 
related to the earl in the third and fourth degrees of consanguinity 
(Lib. Of. S. Andr. p. 8). 

- Lahig Charters, No. 339. 


strictly enjoined to baptise in cases of pressing emergency, 
this prohibition would often come to be practically effective. 
And the Manipulus Curatorum^ a manual in widespread use 
among the clergy, does not scruple to refer also to a class 
sufficiently numerous in the middle ages, the sons and 
daughters of priests, as affected by this prohibition. 

Next, we have to consider the impediment created by 
sponsorship {compaternitas et commaternitas). h. god-father 
could not marry his god-child, and what was more likely 
to be a prohibition of frequent practical effect, the baptised 
could not marry the child of the god-father. Nor was it 
lawful for the god-father to marry the natural mother of 
his god-child. What is said of the god-father is true, 
mutatis mutandis^ of the god-mother. And now attention 
must be directed to the operation of the principle which lay 
at the foundation of the prohibitions arising out of affinity, 
the principle, namely, that a man and his wife being ' one 
flesh,' the acts of one of the married couple are in the eye 
of the Church the acts of the other. Hence the Pope's 
negative answer to the question arising out of the follow- 
ing case submitted. ' Martin married Bertha, and Leonard 
married Bridget. After Leonard's marriage he became 
god-father to a child of Martin and Bertha. Leonard dies, 
and so does Bertha. May Martin contract marriage with 
Bridget ? ' 

Beside the impediments arising out of the sacrament of 
baptism, impediments were also held to be created by the 
sacrament of confirmation. In the administration of this 
rite the child was presented to the bishop by a sponsor : 
and the same impediments were created as in the case of 
baptism. In the old English manual in verse edited for 
the Early English Text Society under the title Instructions 
for Parish Priests by John Myrc (which may be assigned to 
about A.D. 1400 and certainly not later than 1450) the priest 
is reminded that among the ' cosynes ' of the baptised child 
whom the child may not marry are the priest that baptises, 
the priest's children, the god-father's children, etc. ; and 
then turning to confirmation, adds ' the byschop, the 
bischopes chyldren,' etc. The bishop's children and the 
priest's children were common enough in Scotland before 
the Reformation ; but an impediment more likely to 


appear in fact was the prohibition of the marriage of the 
child confirmed with the child of his or her god-parent at 

In the scanty records of the court of the Official 
Principal of St. Andrews there is one case of a divorce 
being sought and granted on account of the spiritual 
relationship of the parties. In 1548 the 'pretended 
marriage ' of David Ynglis and Marjory Forrett was de- 
clared to be null, ' because John Forrett of Fingask, father 
of the said Marjory, putative spouse of the said David, 
lifted {levavii) the same David from the sacred font.' ^ 

Dispensations were sometimes sought from the Pope for 
marriages suffering from this impediment. Thus in 1320 
John XXII. commands the Bishop of Winchester to grant 
a dispensation to Robert of Morstede to remain in the 
marriage which he had contracted with Agnes of Witherst 
in ignorance of the impediment caused by Agnes's mother 
having been Robert's god-mother. In the same year the 
Pope granted a dispensation, through the Bishop of 
Salisbury, to Roger of Esthamstede and Marjory West to 
remain in wedlock contracted in ignorance that Roger's 
father was Marjory's god-father.^ 

In Scotland we have a dispensation granted by a papal 
commissary in 1541 for the marriage of a man whose 
father had been god-father at baptism to the woman.^ 
In 1387 we find another case — a dispensation granted by 
the Pope at the request of King Robert for the marriage 
of Robert de Benachtyn with Egidia Stuart, notwithstand- 
ing that Egidia's father was god-father to Robert.* 

The serious inconveniences that followed from the 
impediments to matrimony arising from spiritual relation- 

"^ Lib. Off] S. Andr. p. 101. In the ceremonial of public baptism one 
of the sponsors lifted the child from the font after baptism. Baptism 
was ordinarily by immersion. In Scotland this was called * heaving.' 
In the Lord Treasurer's Accounts wc have more than one instance of James 
IV. acting as sponsor. Thus in 1489 the king * hwfc {i.e. hove) 
Duncan Forstaris sonnis barne ' (i. 120), and in 1500 he acted at the 
'heving' of the son of the Earl of Buchan (ii. 97). The 'heaving' is 
not, as has been erroneously stated, the holding up of the child for baptism, 
but the raising of him from the font. 

^ Calendar of Papal Re^sters, ii. 206, 207. 

•^ Laing Charters, No. .1.57. •* Cal. Pap. Reg. iv. 255. 


ship were probably the principal reason for the provision of 
one of the Scottish statutes which runs as follows : ' Let 
three persons at most be admitted at baptism to lift the 
child from the font. Two males and one female should 
be god-parents for a male, and two females and one male 
for a female. If more can be had they are to be witnesses, 
and not god-parents ; and this rule is made for various 
causes.' ^ 

Again, when treating of confirmation, the statute^ enjoins, 
' Let the laity be informed that in this sacrament, as in 
the sacrament of baptism, spiritual relationship (froximitas 
spiritualis) is contracted between the god-parents and those 
to whose children they act as god-parents, and also the 
children themselves.' To which is added, ' Let a male 
hold a male before the bishop, and let a female hold a 
female.' ^ 

The belief that the spiritual relationship created be- 
tween the person who administered the sacrament of 
baptism and the parent of the person baptised was an 
impediment to contracting matrimony, and dissolved 
matrimony that had been contracted, gave rise to a notion 
among the vulgar that if a father in case of necessity 
baptised his own child, he could no longer cohabit with 
the mother of the child. One of our Scottish statutes, 
however, is express in declaring that such was not the 
mind of the Church.* 

iS.f.S. il. 31. 2/3;V. 

2 1 cannot remember having come across any Scottish notice with respect 
to the age at which children were ordinarily confirmed. But, doubtless, 
it was, as in England during the middle ages, at a very early age, when a 
visit of the bishop made it possible. The constitutions of the diocese 
of Worcester (1240) fix the time as one year after birth ; the synod of 
Exeter (1287) before the end of the third year; while the council 
of Durham (some time between 1217 and 1226) extended the permissible 
delay to the seventh year, probably on account of the infrequency of the 
bishop's visits in that extensive diocese. The child would be confirmed 
immediately after baptism if the bishop was present. The limits 
mentioned above had reference to the time beyond which if the parents 
neglected to bring the child to confirmation they would be subject to 
canonical punishment. 

^S.E.S. ii. p. 30. * Et pater et mater baptizent filium suum in 
necessitate, si alie desint persone, et sine prejudicio matrimonii,' What 
is meant is more clearly expressed by the council of Exeter (1287), 


In medieval times, as is well known, it was not in- 
frequent to arrange for the marriage of children, more 
especially of royal or noble houses, at a very early age. 
But the designs of their parents and friends had to have 
the assent of the boy and girl when they reached the age of 
seven. A promise of future marriage might then be 
given, for in the language of the theologians they * then 
begin to have discretion.' But matrimony could not be 
contracted till the boy was fourteen and the girl was 
twelve years of age. Yet it was held generally that the 
promise of marriage if given after seven years of age 
required a dispensation from the Pope to set it aside. 

There is preserved in Rome, and printed by Theiner 
(p. 284), the interesting and curious case of two children, 
Hugh Giffard, in his ninth year or thereby, and Elisabeth 
More in her eleventh year, being actually publicly married 
per verba de presenti in the face of the Church. The 
marriage, it appears, was only in name, and when they 
were a few years older, they reclaimed against this marriage 
and refused to regard it as valid {gratum vel ratunt). Yet 
it was thought (probably in error) that the Pope should be 
petitioned to release the parties from the supposed bond. 
The Pope (1345) remits the matter to the Bishop of St. 
Andrews, who, if he finds that the statements made in the 
petition were true in fact, was to declare that matrimony of 
this kind was in no sense binding. The boy was of the 
diocese of St. Andrews and the girl of the diocese of 
Glasgow. There is no other clue in the document itself 
helping to identify the parties, who must, no doubt, have 
belonged to families of distinction. 

This document, there is good reason to think, refers to 
the early history of a lady around whose story the strife of 
historians and antiquaries raged fiercely four hundred 
years after she had passed to the silence of the grave. 

* Insupcr pater ct mater in necessitatis articulo absque copulae conjugalis 
prejudicio suos parvulos valeant baptizare.' Sec U\C. ii. 131. A father 
or mother was not allowed to be a god-parent to his or her own child ; 
and we find Walafrid Strabo, Abbat of Reichenau, in the middle of the 
ninth century, maintaining that if this occurred the parents were to be 
thenceforth forbidden conjugal rights, ' non habebunt carnalis copulae 
dcinccps adinviccm consortium, qui in communi filio compaternitatis 
spiritale vinculum suscepcrunt.' De officiis divltiis, cap. 26. 


She was the beautiful lady afterwards married to King 
Robert IL of Scotland, and the mother from whom all the 
subsequent kings of this country can trace their descent. 
There can, I believe, be scarcely a doubt that the little 
girl who was married in her eleventh year to Hugh 
Giffard is none other than Elizabeth Mure, daughter of 
Sir Adam Mure of Rowallan. 

As it seems to me, the petition to the Pope which drew 
forth the rescript of 1345 was a first step with a view to 
the marriage of this lady with Robert, the Steward of 
Scotland, which Fordun tells us took place in 1349. 
This was only a preliminary, but yet a necessary step. 
The first thing was to remove all doubt as to whether 
Elizabeth Mure was a married woman. If she were, and 
Hugh Giffard ^ were still alive, no dispensation would be 
possible. But that question being set at rest, a fresh set 
of obstacles to the marriage of Robert and Elizabeth had 
to be faced. First, Robert and Elizabeth were related in 
the fourth degree of consanguinity ; secondly, through a 
previous illicit connexion of Robert with Yzabella 
Boutellier, who was related to Elizabeth in the fourth and 
third degree of consanguinity, Robert was related to 
Elizabeth in the fourth and third degree of affinity. 
Robert and Elizabeth professed that they had been 
ignorant of these relationships ; and now, Robert, desiring 
to make Elizabeth his undoubted wife, they petition the 
Pope for a dispensation from these canonical impediments. 
The petition was supported, as the Pope's response informs 
us, by the intreaties of King David and Philip, King of 
France, and farther, as we learn from the petition itself, 
by the Bishops of St. Andrews, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dun- 
keld, Argyll, Brechin, and Dunblane. The union of 
Robert and Elizabeth, before their marriage, had made 
them parents (to use the language of the Pope's letter) of 
' a multitude of each sex ' ; but even if there had been a 
promise of marriage between them, the canonical im- 
pediments of consanguinity and affinity would have 

1 This Hugh Giffard, as I take it, was Hugh GiiFard, son of Sir John 
Giffard of Yester, whose eldest daughter was married to Sir W. Hay, 
from whom the noble family of Tweeddale derive their descent. See 
Douglas's Peerage, ii. 650. 


sufficed to prevent their union being a marriage in the 
eye of the Church.^ 

It was a principle of the canon law that the children 
of persons who had not been married were rendered 
legitimate by a subsequent marriage of the parents.- 

It was ruled that when a marriage had been publicly 
celebrated in the face of the Church, and when afterwards 
a divorce is granted in the ecclesiastical courts, the chil- 
dren born before the sentence of divorce is pronounced 
shall be regarded as legitimate.^ 

Children born of adultery are not legitimated by the 
subsequent marriage of the parents.-* If a married man, 
his wife being still alive, publicly contracts marriage in the 
face of the Church with another woman, who is ignorant 
of the fact that his wife is alive, though the marriage with 
the second woman is null, the children are to be held 

The ignorance of one or both of the parties in respect 
to canonical impediments to their matrimony is often 
found pleaded in the consistorial courts, and in many 
cases it seems to have been allowed so far forth as con- 
cerned the legitimacy of the children of the union. 

As is well known, the civil law of Scotland retains 
many traces of the influence of the ancient canon law. 
The common law of England has never sanctioned legiti- 
mation by subsequent marriage. It was when the bishops 
of England attempted to have the canon law on this 
subject recognised that the earls and barons returned the 
famous answer at the assize of Merton (1235), 'Nolumus 
mutare leges Angliae.' 

But what I am concerned with is the law of the Church. 
And, as distinct from the question of a right to inherit, it 
must be remembered that various ecclesiastical inabilities 
were entailed by illegitimacy. Illegitimate persons were 
prohibited from being ordained, and from receiving an 

iScc Calendar of Papal Registers (Petitions), i. 124, and Thclner's 
Monumenta, No. 565. 

2 See Decret. Greg. IX., lib. iv. tit. xvii. 1. Naturalis ex soluto 
genitus et solut.i legitimatur per subscquens parentum conjugium, edam 
quoad heredltatem. 

^ Ibid 2. Ubid. 6. ^Ibid. 14. 


ecclesiastical benefice, unless they received a dispensation. 
And, what affected a much larger number, they were 
unable to make a will. 


A dispensation is the relaxation of a general law in a 
particular case. The medieval theologians generally dis- 
tinguished between laws, natural and divine, on the one 
hand, and on the other, laws ecclesiastical. The majority 
were of opinion that even the Pope himself could not 
dispense from the obligation of natural divine law. The 
impediments to matrimony, arising out of those of the 
prohibited degrees which do not appear in the Levitical 
code, were admitted by all not to be of divine obligation. 
They were ecclesiastical restrictions supposed to be bene- 
ficial to the social and religious life of Christians. The 
Church, which had enacted them, could revoke them, as 
was done in respect to the fifth, sixth, and seventh degrees 
of consanguinity and affinity at the fourth Lateran 
council. And it was held that the Pope could relax 
the application of the general law, at least in regard to 
any of the non-Levitical prohibitions, if it seemed to him 
that there was good cause for such action. It will be 
observed in several cases of the dispensations which are 
cited later on, that some public good, such as the uniting of 
families between whom strife and rancorous animosity had 
prevailed, or the bringing about of peace between two 
nations that had been at war, is expressly mentioned as 
a reason for the relaxation of the Church's law. In a 
small country like Scotland, where the intermarriages 
between the great houses were frequent, and practically 
of necessity, there was evidently much readiness in grant- 
ing dispensations. 

The theory of such dispensations was that the union 
of two persons related within certain of the prohibited 
degrees was not in it itself sinful, but would be sinful as 
violating a disciplinary rule of the Church. This rule, for 
a good reason, the Church might relax in a particular case. 
A good example of a statement of the reasons for a 
dispensation will be found in the case of the marriage of 


William, Earl of Sutherland, with Margaret, sister of 
Kino- David II. The commission to the Bishop of Caith- 
ness to inquire into the truth of the petition for a 
dispensation is dated Dec. i, 1342. It was represented 
to the Pope that between the families of the Earl and 
Margaret, their forbears and friends, there had long been 
dissensions, wars, plunderings, fire, and slaughter, which, 
with other evils, were still continued. The churches had 
suffered great loss, and greater damage was expected 
unless some remedy could be found. This remedy it was 
alleged lay in the marriage of William and Margaret. 
They were indeed in the fourth degree of consanguinity 
from the common ancestor {ah eodem stipite), but the Pope 
for the reasons stated was willing, if the Bishop of Caithness 
found that the account contained in the petition was correct, 
to allow matrimony to be contracted, the obstacle of 
consanguinity notwithstanding.^ 

This case may be taken as a specimen of a large number 
of marriage dispensations recorded in Theiner's volume.- 

But all young people were not so fortunate as to belong 
to great families that were at feud and had carried fire and 
slaughter into one another's territories. And occasionally 
we find the Pope giving as his reason for the dispensation 
that he desires to foster and preserve the great friendship 
that had long existed between two famiHes.=^ In some 
cases the Pope does not state the reasons for the dispensa- 
tion, but contents himself with declaring that it is given 
for certain causes which had been explained to him.^ 

1 Theiner p. 27S. 

2 As in the cases of Patrick of Dunbar, Earl of March, and Agnes, 
daughter of Thomas Arnulph [Ranulph, Randolph], Earl of Moray, in 
the third and fourth degrees of consanguinity (a.d. 1324 ; No. cccclii.) ; 
John Stewart and Fynghola, daughter of Angus of the Isles, in the fourth 
degree of consanguinity and also fourth of affinity (a.d. I 342 ; No. dliii.) ; 
William de Moravia and Muriel, daughter of Sir Duncan Campbell, in 
fourth degree of affinity (a.d. 1343 ; No. dlvii.) ; Robert Stewart and 
Eufcmia, widow of John, Earl of Moray, in the fourth degree of consan- 
guinity and third of affinity (a.d. 1354; No. dcxx.) ; to which many 
others could be added, .as Nos. dcxxvi., dcxxxii., dcxl., dcxliii., dec. In 
all these the reason assigned is to mitigate, or put an end to rancours 
and strife, or wars and slaughter. 

3 See Theiner, Nos. dclxxiii. and dccxxiv. ■* Theiner, No. dcxlvii. 


In truth, nothing is more certain than that dispen- 
sations could be easily had by those who were able to apply 
for them and pay. Even those who married, knowing 
that they were within the forbidden degrees, had no diffi- 
culty; and the salutary penance for their offence was 
trifling. Such a case was the marriage of Alexander Lord 
Hume with Agnes Stewart, widow of the Earl of Bothwell, 
who fell at Flodden. They were dispensed to remain in 
marriage, and, as a penance for their offence, they were to 
separate for three days, hear mass, and say five pater nosters 
and five aves.'^ 

The great difficulty of finding a spouse that was not within 
the forbidden degrees is sometimes dwelt on in the peti- 
tion, as when Sir David Graham and Helen, widow of Sir 
Reginald Chene (1353), who were within the fourth degree 
of consanguinity, pleaded that on account of the scarcity of 
people of rank in those parts, and because of the very large 
families of blood relations [fecundissimam prolis propaga- 
tionem) it was scarcely possible to find persons whom they 
could lawfully marry.^ Two hundred years later things 
were as bad or worse. In 1556, Mary of Guise, the 
queen-mother, addressed. a letter to Pope Paul IV., in 
which she declares that in Scotland ' every day many illicit 
marriages are contracted between cousins {inter consan- 
guineos) and in the forbidden degrees, while partly on 
account of the great distance and the perils of the journey, 
and partly on account of poverty, they are unable to 
resort to the Most Holy See to seek the benefit of dis- 
pensation.'^ Indeed, apart from any discussion of the 
lawfulness of the Church imposing restrictions on marriage 
which were, on all hands, acknowledged to be not of 
divine law, the ugly feature of the system of dispensa- 
tions was that they were not to be had by the poor, 
however deserving they might be of such indulgence. 
The remedy suggested by the queen-mother and her 
advisers was that the powers already granted to the Arch- 
bishop of St. Andrews should be extended, and that the 
Pope should grant him authority to dispense with all 

"^Uiag Charters, Nos. 301, 302. 2 xheiner, Monumenta, p. 305. 

3 The letter Is printed in full in the Appendix to the Preface to Liber 
Officialis S. Jndree, p. xli. 


impediments arising from spiritual relationship, and all 
those arising from natural consanguinity and affinity up 
to and including the third degree. Someone on the spot, 
someone who could be resorted to without considerable 
expense, was desired. 

Some of Archbishop Hamilton's predecessors had cer- 
tainly enjoyed large dispensing powers. Not to speak of 
Cardinal Beaton, Andrew Forman had ' the power and 
faculty of a legate de latere throughout the whole king- 
dom.'^ In 1 534, Cardinal Antonius, the papal penitentiary 
at Rome, granted a limited commission to John Ches- 
holme, Chancellor of Dunblane, to grant dispensations 
to twenty couples. The power was to terminate after 
five years. In two years the nineteenth couple had been 
reached.^ A later commission from the penitentiary 
more than doubles the number capable of being dispensed, 
but, as will be seen, it was obviously insufficient for the 
needs of the country. 

In 1 541, a commission, of a limited nature, was granted 
by the Pope's penitentiary, Cardinal Antonius, by special 
command of the Pope, to John Thornton, Canon of Glas- 
gow, who was also Precentor of Moray, to grant dispensa- 
tions to forty-five couples, forty-five men and torty-five 
women, suffering from the impediment of the fourth 
degree of consanguinity or affinity, or from one of the 
impediments arising from spiritual relationship, namely, 
that created between a god-child and the natural children 
of a god-parent either at baptism or confirmation. The 
commission was to last for only five years, and, as has 
been said, was limited to forty-five couples. The com- 
mission was granted at Rome on 4th June, 1541 ; and on 
1st May, 1542, or in less than eleven months, the com- 
missioner's powers were approaching exhaustion, for on the 
latter day his thirty-ninth dispensation was granted.^ In 
the same year (1541), a few days later than Thornton's 

1 Sec ;i dispensation granted by him in 1 518 in Laing Charters, No. 
3 I 3, and another to a couple suffering from the impediment of the third 
degree of affinity, Lib. Off.S. Andr. p. 161. 

" See Stuart's Lost Chapter in the History of Mary Queen of Scots, 68, 69. 

3 This is pointed out by Dr. Hay Fleming, Register of St. Andrews 
Kirk Session, p. 116, note. 


commission, David Christison, Canon of Glasgow, and 
George Cook, Canon of Dunkeld, were granted a commis- 
sion from Rome to dispense thirty-five couples.^ This 
gives us a vivid sense of the large demand there was at 
the time for such dispensations. 

It would be interesting if we knew the financial arrange- 
ments between the penitentiary and his commissaries. 
We may probably assume that the taxae of the Roman 
penitentiary would be undiminished, and the saving 
effected for those applying for dispensations would allow 
the commissary to be compensated for his trouble. 

^ Laing Charters, No. 457. 



Those who confine their studies to the statutes and other 
ecclesiastical enactments of the medieval Church in Scot- 
land will gain a very imperfect, and, indeed, a very- 
misleading view of the actual condition of the Church, 
as it manifested itself in the realities of every-day life. 
The provisions of statutory law may be excellent in inten- 
tion ; but we have further to inquire as to how the law was 
administered. It may be acknowledged that good sense 
and even a feeling for substantial justice will indicate that 
there are occasions when the rigour of law should be con- 
trolled and modified by considerations of equity. On 
the other hand, wholesale dispensations of law constantly 
occurring must inevitably bring the law into contempt. 

The power claimed and exercised by the Pope to dis- 
pense with any ecclesiastical law of human institution gave 
an element of uncertainty to the endeavours of the wisest 
of the Scottish churchmen when attempting to correct 
flagrant abuses and provide remedies for the growing 
corruptions of the time. The law of the Church, for 
example, was in its spirit thoroughly exposed to the evils 
that are consequent on the piling up of ecclesiastical pre- 
ferments on certain favoured individuals. No two bene- 
fices with pastoral care (cure of souls), each in theory 
involving continuous residence, could legally be held by 
one and the same person. Yet dispensations from Rome 
of this law were so frequent as to be one of the greatest 
of the scandals and reproaches that disgraced the medieval 
Church. Scotland, it is true, was no worse off in this 


respect than England. But the evidence, afforded by such 
unimpeachable authorities as the pages of the Papal 
Registers^ shows that the accumulation of ecclesiastical 
benefices upon certain clerks, who were unable to fulfil 
in person the duties of the offices which they held, was 
an evil from which Scotland suffered severely during the 
greater part of the period with which we are concerned. 

And when we turn to consider how these dispensations 
were obtained, the picture does not become more attractive. 
The favour of a nobleman, or the recommendation of a 
prince, if one could only get him to speak the word, was 
all but invariably effective. To act with ability, or at 
least to the satisfaction of one's masters, in the public 
affairs of the State, was a much more certain road to 
ecclesiastical preferment than the most painstaking dis- 
charge of the duties of the pastoral office. 

Together with dispensations most liberally bestowed, 
we have to take into view the system of papal ' reservations,' 
as it was styled. This proceeded on the doctrine that 
every ecclesiastical benefice was in theory at the disposal 
of the Pope. When a benefice fell vacant the Pope 
might declare that he had ' reserved ' it to his own 
provision. In such a case the rights of the ordinary 
patron were suspended for the occasion ; and from the 
interminable list of clamorous and greedy applicants the 
Pope would make his appointment. If the benefice was 
valuable it might be some Italian favourite of his Holiness 
that was nominated ; or he might do an act of gracious 
courtesy to some importunate lady who had been making 
entreaty on behalf of a chaplain that stood high in her 
good graces. 

The evils of this system were somewhat qualified by its 
affording opportunities for making provision for scholars, 
whether native or foreign, who had distinguished them- 
selves at the Universities of France, Italy, or England. 
But though it was desirable that a becoming maintenance 
should be procured for men of this kind, nothing could 
be worse than appointing them to benefices the duties of 
which they were never expected to fulfil except by an 
ill-paid deputy. A man of real eminence in the learning 
and science of his day, like Michael Scott (the ' wizard ' of 



popular Scottish tradition), deserved without doubt en- 
couragement and reward. But even a patron of learning 
might well hesitate to pile upon him, as was done by 
Honorius III., two or three benefices ' with cure of souls ' 
in England and two in Scotland.^ 

By this system of reservation and provision the bishops 
were deprived of much of their legitimate influence. A 
bishop might have his eye on some hard-working vicar in a 
country parish, and plan his advancement to some post 
where he would have greater scope, or where, at least, 
he might enjoy more of the comforts of life which had 
been well earned by long and faithful service. But when 
a benefice fell vacant it was often found that, if it had 
anything to commend it, it had been ' reserved ' already 
by the Pope. 

In a word, so far as the distribution of patronage was 
concerned, Scotland was little different from a mere 
dependency and appanage of the Roman see. As it 
happened, the comparative poverty of Scotland presented 
few objects of desire to those who hung about the Roman 
court on the look out for posts of emolument. Con- 
sequently we find a much larger proportion of foreigners 
beneficed in England than in this country. 

Occasionally we find a bishop giving audible expression 
to his disgust. Thus in 1363 the Bishop of Glasgow in a 
letter to Urban V. declares that ' on account of the 
multitude of those who expect benefices by papal autho- 
rity, he is unable to make provision to his own people,' 
and he actually petitions the Pope for a canonry at 
Glasgow for his own secretary.- 

Many benefices were indeed without cure of souls, such, 
for example, as the prebends of the canons of cathedral 
and collegiate churches, and these (unless in the case of 
certain of the ' dignities ' which were expressly declared to 

^See Calendar of Papal Registers (Letters), i. pp. 94, 96, 102, 117. 
Scott is described in the first of these letters ' as eminent in science,' and he 
was presumably the same as the author of L/'/^^r/yiyj/owoOT/W. It seems 
that Pope Honorius appointed Scott to the Archbishopric of Cashel, and 
that Scott to his credit resigned that dignity because he was 'ignorant of 
the language of that land.' Sec Theincr's Monutncnta, No. Ivi. 

^C.P.R. (Petitions), i. 400. 


be ' incompatible,' that is which could not be held together 
with other benefices) might be accumulated on one person 
to any extent. Indeed nothing was more common than 
the holding of canonries at the same time in two, three, or 
even four of our Scottish cathedrals. And the acquisition of 
these pluralities was very commonly secured by the 
Pope's provision, or at his request or mandate. Every 
few pages of the Calendar of Papal Registers will furnish 
some illustration of this truth. But with the help of 
dispensations from Rome benefices of all kinds, whether 
with or without cure of souls, could be, and were, piled on 
those who had influence, direct or indirect, with either the 
king or the Pope. Royal chaplains and the king's clerks 
were, as one may readily conceive, brought frequently 
under the notice of the Pope with a view to preferment. 
It was thus always easy to remunerate services done to the 
sovereign or his household without dipping too deeply 
into the royal purse. There were few more frequent 
and persistent petitioners of the Roman court than Joan, 
Queen of David II. Letter after letter making request to 
the Pope for benefices for her chaplains will be found in 
the volume of Petitions to the Pope^ published under 
direction of the Master of the Rolls (1896). But it had 
long been the practice in England to amplify the revenues 
of state officials by accumulating on them church prefer- 
ments. Thomas Becket, while yet only in deacon's 
orders, is believed to have had at least twenty benefices. 
And in the following century John Mansel, royal chap- 
lain and judge under Henry III., far surpassed the limit of 
Becket, accumulating to himself by the help of dispensations 
no less, as has been alleged, than 4000 marks a year from 
the revenues of the Church. Scotland furnishes a case 
that makes a parallel to Becket's, in William Wischard, 
archdeacon of St. Andrews and chancellor of the king, 
who, according to Bower {Scotichron. x. cap. 28) held 
together with his archdeaconry, as rector or prebendary, 
twenty-two churches. He was eventually postulated to 
Glasgow, but before consecration was translated to St. 

As has been already remarked, the number of foreigners 

^Postulated, 1271 ; Consecrated, 1273. 


drawing revenues from Scottish benefices was com- 
paratively small. But that soreness was caused by 
imposing aliens on the Church is beyond question. In 
1248 the Bishop of St. Andrews seems to have success- 
fully resisted the intrusion of a certain Canon of Florence, 
' son of Spilatti, citizen of Florence,' into one of the 
parishes of his diocese. In the same year the Pope, 
moved no doubt by remonstrances from this country, 
graciously declared that in consideration that the Cathedral 
of Glasgow was burdened by having to make provision 
for four Italians, while there were only nine prebends and 
five dignities, it should not be necessary to make provision 
for any other until the death or resignation of one of 
the Italians.^ Only one week, however, after this indult 
was signed, we find the Pope commanding the Bishop 
of Moray to make provision to Peter, son of Ingebald, 
a ' Roman citizen,' of one or more benefices in the diocese 
of St. Andrews,- while two years earlier, for this same 
Peter, the Pope had ordered the Abbey of Dunfermline to 
provide a benefice of 20 marks in value.^ That there 
were Italians holding Church preferment at this time in 
considerable numbers may perhaps be inferred from the 
general papal ordinance of the year 1247, that Italian 
clerks in Scotland must give ' to the Church ' half 
their pensions in the case of pensions over 100 marks, 
and quarter of their pensions below that amount.'* A few 
months later Gerard ' of Rome ' is authorised to hold 
the church of St. Andrew, Kirkandrews, together 
with his canonry at Glasgow and prebend at Renfrew ; 
and it is stated in support of the ordinance that 
Gerard's uncle had been penitentiary to the Pope.^ 
Other examples might be cited ; but at no period did 
Scotland possess so many rich prebendal and other 
benefices as those which made England a happy hunting 
ground for needy or avaricious foreigners." 

'^Piipai Registers, 12 Kal. Mali, 1248. ^ Ibid. 5 Kal. Mali, 1248. 

^Ibid. I I Kal. Mail, 1246. *2 Non. Mail and 3 Kal. Jun. 1247. 

'^Non. Oct. 1247. 

6 Cases now and then occur (but they arc not numerous) where Scottish 
ecclesiastics, apparently serving in Scotland, were granted benefices abroad. 
The most notable examples belong to the close of our period. Forman, 


In 1253 William de Kilkenny, Archdeacon of Coventry, 
afterwards Chancellor of England and Bishop of Ely, was 
granted in 1253 leave to hold the church of Largs (on the 
Clyde) in the diocese of Glasgow, together with a prebend 
in Dublin, the treasurership of Exeter and other English 

A glimpse of an effort at resistance on the part of a 
Scottish bishop to the intrusion of foreign ecclesiastics is 
afforded by a brief notice in the Calendar of Papal Registers."^ 
It seems that the Pope, Urban IV., had impowered the 
Cardinal of St. Eustace's to procure the gift of two 
dignities or benefices with or without cure of souls, in 
Scotland for his two nephews, Albert and Boniface. The 
Bishop of St. Andrews refused to make such provision, 
pleading an indult of the Pope which he alleged had been 
granted to him. The cardinal tried to enforce his claim, 
but the bishop declined to yield, and actually excommuni- 
cated the cardinal for his persistence, whereupon the 
Pope directed a mandate to the Bishop of Dunblane and 
the Archdeacon of St. Andrews to proceed to make the 
provision demanded. In England (eleven years earlier, in 
1253) Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln, had refused to 
institute a nephew of Pope Innocent IV., who was only a 
child. At that time England was certainly heavily 
oppressed by provisions for foreigners. Innocent IV., in 
a letter addressed to the archbishops and bishops of 
England, states that it had been represented to him that 
the Church of England was burdened for aliens to the 
extent of 50,000 marks ; and he desires that the sum be 
reduced to 8000 marks, 'so that there be no complaint.'^ 
But the evil still continued, though perhaps not to the 
same extent. 

A few examples (drawn from the pages of the Calendars 
of Papal Registers) of the provision of foreigners in Scotland 
may be added to those already noticed. In 1254 the 
Bishop of St. Andrews is commanded to make provision 

Bishop of Moray, received the Archbishopric of Bourges, while Cardinal 
Beaton was Bishop of Mirepoix. 

1 C.P.R. (Letters), i. 290. 2 (Letters)^ i. 414. 

3 C.P.R. (Letters), i. 286. 


of one or more benefices, prebendal or other, up to the 
value of 50 marks, for John de Civitella, papal subdeacon. 
In the same year the Pope orders that a benefice in Scot- 
land, to the value of 40 marks, should be provided to 
the son of the noble Landulf de Cecano, a nephew of one 
of the cardinals. In 1292 Conrad de Brunforte, chaplain 
to the Pope, was holding at the same time a parish in the 
diocese of St. Andrews and canonries with prebends in 
Liege, St. Omer, and Aberdeen. 

The extreme difficulty of collecting either tithes or rents 
during the protracted wars with England during the reigns 
of the Edwards, and the deplorable depreciation in the 
value of the revenues of the Church (as indeed of all 
landed property in Scodand) made a considerable alteration. 
Scotland no longer offered the same attractions to ecclesi- 
astics abroad on the look out for preferment. But 
whatever be the cause, at the period referred to, the 
diminution in the numbers of foreigners holding prefer- 
ment in Scotland is observable. 

The cathedrals and monasteries had good reason to 
object to the demands made upon them to provide to the 
Pope's nominees, whether natives or foreigners, benefices 
in their patronage. And we have evidence that respectful 
remonstrances were addressed from time to time on the 
subject to the Apostolic see. The Priory of St. Andrews 
was successful in obtaining (1228) authority from Gregory 
IX. to refuse for the future to grant allowances {pensiones) 
from their revenues to secular clergy. 

In 1259 the Bishop, Dean, and Chapter of Moray 
obtained the right of refusing to make provision for any 
person mentioned in a papal or legatine letter unless the 
letter made express reference to the fact that this privilege 
had been granted. In other words, all that was effected by 
this privilege was that the nomination made by the Pope 
or his legate should be made with the consciousness that 
complaint of the burden imposed on the chapter had been 
in a measure acknowledged. The Pope could still, by the 
insertion of a non obstante clause, when he was so disposed, 
cause the chapter to give effect to his wishes. And as a 
matter of fact there was probably no cathedral that 
suffered more than Moray from the demands for provisions. 


In 1245 the Abbey of Dunfermline obtained an 
indulgence protecting the house from having in future 
to provide benefices or pensions unless the Pope expressly- 
made mention of the indulgence. ^ 

In 1 201 (27th July) Pope Innocent III. granted an 
indulgence at the request of the king to the Abbey of 
Cambuskenneth releasing that body from giving pensions 
or benefices to nominees of the Pope without a special 
mandate making mention of the indulgence.- 

The accumulation of benefices piled upon individuals 
resident in Scotland was an evil scarcely less clamant. 
The Dean of Glasgow in 1307 was dispensed to hold the 
churches of Egliston and Stow in the diocese of Lincoln, 
and a canonry and prebend in Dunkeld. We sometimes 
get a glimpse of the number of benefices held by favoured 
clerks, from the records of the scramble for their prefer- 
ments when any of them was promoted to a bishopric. 
Thus, before his promotion to the see of Dunblane (1361), 
we can gather that Walter had held at the same time the 
deanery of Aberdeen, a canonry and prebend of Dunkeld, 
a canonry and prebend of Ross, and the parish church of 
Inverarathen in the diocese of St. Andrews.^ In 1331 
John de Leys is provided by John XXII. to a canonry and 
prebend of Moray, notwithstanding that he had a canonry 
and prebend of Dunkeld, a canonry of Glasgow with 
expectation of a prebend, a canonry of Dunblane, and the 
perpetual vicarage of Abernethy.* 

In 1353 Walter de Coventre, Dean of Aberdeen, held, 
together with his deanery, a canonry in Dunkeld and a 
canonry in Ross, and was further granted by the Pope 
provision of a canonry in the cathedral of Moray with 
expectation of a prebend.^ In 135 1 Alexander Steward 
{senescalli) was provided by the Pope to a canonry in 
Moray, he being then also Archdeacon of Ross, Canon 
of Dunkeld, and Canon of Aberdeen, with the prebend of 
Cruden. The latter canonry and prebend he was to 

1 Cal. Pap. Reg. i. 8 Kal. Maii, 1245. 

-Chartulary of Cambuskenneth, p. 51. ^C.P.R. (Petitions), i. 325. 

*C.P.R. (Letters), ii. 363. 

^C.P.R. (Letters), iii. 480. 


resign.^ It would be easy to enlarge the list by dozens 
of examples from the Calendars of Papal Registers. 

Leaving the subject of dispensations for pluralities, we 
have to point to the extremely liberal grants of dispen- 
sations for the admission of bastard children to Orders 
and to the benefices of the Church. According to the 
law of the Church — the canon law — no one might be 
ordained who was suffering from what was known as 
' defect of birth ' {defectus natalium), that is, who had not 
been born in wedlock. It was obviously a rule that tended 
to maintain the sacred ministry in the respectful conside- 
ration of the people, and to put honour upon the married 
state. But it is also obvious that occasions might arise 
when it might be of real advantage to the Church that 
the law should be dispensed with. What we have to 
remark is that dispensations for illegitimacy were granted 
with so lavish a hand that it is certain that a considerable 
proportion of the clergy in Scotland, not only among the 
rank and file, but perhaps in even still greater abundance 
among the dignitaries and high officials of the Church, 
was drawn from the offspring of irregular connexions. 
The facility with which dispensations were obtained 
afiforded to the nobility and landed gentry of Scotland, 
and, indeed, one may add, to the royal family, an easy 
way of providing more or less comfortably for bastard 

It was common on the occasion of the Pope sending a 
legate to England or Scotland to confer on him the power 
to dispense for ' defect of birth,' and that, frequently, on 
a very liberal scale. Thus Cardinal Ottobon, as papal 
legate, in 1265 was impowered to grant dispensations to 
fifty clerks of illegitimate birth in England, and fifty other 
clerks of illegitimate birth in Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, 
to minister in the orders they had received and to be 
promoted to higher orders. But they must not be the 
sons of monks, or of adulterous or incestuous parents. 
He was further impowered to dispense ten such persons to 
hold benefices with cure of souls in England, and ten in 
Scotland, Ireland, and Wales.- The two nuncios sent to 
England in 1337 were impowered to grant dispensations to 
^C.P.R. (Letters), iii. 414. ^ Ibid. i. 429. 



one hundred clerks of illegitimate birth in England and 
France to be ordained and hold a benefice apiece.^ And 
in 13 12 the same powers were granted to Cardinal Arnald 
and the Bishop of Poitiers, papal nuncios to England, but 
without any limitation as to numbers. ^ Extended powers 
of a like kind were bestowed on Guy, Bishop of Sabina, 
legate in 1263.^ The possession of these faculties added, 
no doubt, very largely to the influence of the legates 
and nuncios. A dispensation might be had without the 
troublesome process of sending a petition and having it 
* expedited ' at Rome. But the pages of the Calendars of 
Papal Registers show abundantly how frequent were the 
applications direct to the Apostolic see for dispensations 
of this kind, and how readily they were granted. Nor 
are examples wanting of the dispensations of children of 
adulterous parentage."* 

The royal family, naturally as things then went, received 
special consideration. The Pope propria motu appointed 
Thomas Steward, natural son of Robert II., to the arch- 
deaconry of St. Andrews and to the canonry and prebend of 
^ Stobo in the Cathedral of Glasgow, the latter benefice 

having been held by James Steward, deceased, a brother 
of Thomas. Shortly afterwards Thomas Steward is given 
the deanery of Dunkeld, which he is allowed to hold 
together with his former benefices, and to these a canonry 
at Brechin was soon added.^ 

Once again, the conferring of ecclesiastical benefices on 
children was directly opposed to the canon law ; but with 
the help of papal dispensations (and sometimes on the 
express mandate of the Pope) favoured children, the 
' nephews ' of cardinals, or the sons of royal or noble 
persons, were often granted at an early age a benefice, or 
a cathedral canonry with its prebend. English history is 
more rich in examples ot this corruption than Scottish, 

^C.P.R. (Letters), ii, 539. ^ UU. 105. ^ II>id. i. 399. 

* See C.P.R. (Petitions), i. 621. An extreme case is that of the dispen- 
sation (1394) of John Gray, son of a married man and a nun, to hold a 
cathedral dignity. This was granted at the request of Thomas Steward, 
Archdeacon of St. Andrews, himself the natural son of King Robert II. 
C.P.R. (Petitions), i. 592. 

^ C.P.R. (Petitions), i. 551, 574, 577. 



probably because benefices worthy of acceptance were 
to be found in greater abundance in the southern 
kingdom. But the case of the youthful Archbishop of 
St. Andrews, who fell at Flodden, is familiar to all.^ 
Nearly a century earlier another bastard son of the royal 
family of Steward was, while still a child, promoted to 
ecclesiastical preferment. In 141 6 Alan Steward, then 
only twelve years ot age, an illegitimate son of the Earl of 
Atholl and Caithness, was made a canon and prebendary 
of Dunkeld by Benedict XIII. Two years later Cruden, 
in the diocese of Aberdeen, and other benefices were 

The uncle of Alexander Stewart who fell at Flodden, 
James Stewart, second son of James III. by Margaret of 
Denmark, was appointed to the primatial see of St. 
Andrews in 1497, when he was only twenty-one years 
of age. A dispensation from Rome set aside the impedi- 
ment arising from ' defect of age.' 

Of dispensations for defect of age other examples will 
be mentioned. One is the case of the appointment (1554) 
by the Pope (Nicholas V.) of William Forbes, a student at 
Paris of twenty years of age, to the deanery of Brechin. 
He had already enjoyed a canonry and prebend in the 
cathedral. He is described as a kinsman of James, King 
of Scots, and nephew of the Bishop of St. Andrews, James 
Kennedy.^ Another is that of the dispensation of William 
Cunynghame, Provost of Trinity College, Edinburgh, in 
his twenty-sixth year, to hold the bishopric of Lismore. 
He is also dispensed to retain with it all his benefices.* 
He is supposed to have been a brother of the Earl of 
Glencairn.^ In 1348 the Queen of Scotland petitions the 
Pope on behalf of Thomas of Duns, who is under nine- 
teen years of age, for a benefice in the gift of the prior 

^ Sir Archibald H. Dunbar, who has devoted his labours to the minute 
study of the dates of Scottish history, considers that Alexander Stewart 
was born 'about 1493,' and made Archbishop of St. Andrews 'in or 
before July, 1 505 ' {Scottish Kings, 220). 

-C.P.R. (Letters), ii. 605, 609, 610. 

^ Regis tr urn Brechinense, ii. 402, 403. 

■•The Baiberini MS., cited by Brady {Episcopal Succession, \o\ i. 161). 

^ Keith's Catalogue, 289, and Wood's Peerage of Scotland, i. 638. 


and chapter of St. Andrews. Clement VI. grants the 
queen's petition.^ 

Dispensations from the requirements of the Church's 
law of matrimony have been dealt with in the last chapter, 
and are again referred to in the following chapter. 

It was either necessary or, at least, highly expedient 
for anyone elected to a bishopric to resort without delay 
to Rome to ' expedite ' the business of his confirmation 
by the Pope. The travelling thither would involve 
expense, and the delays were often considerable. But it 
is plain from evidence of various kinds that large sums 
were required for what was known as ' expediting ' the 
bulls. Now it was contrary to the law of the Church 
that a bishopric, that is, the property of the see, should be 
burdened with debt. In the case of wealthy persons with 
good credit, a loan might be effected in the ordinary way. 
In the case of those not so fortunate a difficulty arose. 
But the Popes were frequently indulgent in sanctioning 
the raising of money on the credit of the revenue of the 
bishopric when the money was to be spent in Rome. 
Thus, with a view to the expediting of the confirmation of 
Gamelin (1254) to the see of St. Andrews, permission was 
granted to raise a loan of ' 500 lib. new sterling ' by giving 
an obligation over the property of the see.- Again, Richard 
de Pilmor was appointed Bishop of Dunkeld by Pope 
Clement VI. in 1343. He petitioned the Pope to allow 
him to borrow on the credit of the revenues of his church 
the sum of 3000 gold florins for expediting his business. 
The bond was to be over all the goods of the church of 
Dunkeld, movable and immovable. The permission 
sought was granted.^ Again, in 1322, Maurice, Bishop 

1 C.P.R. (Petitions), i. 145. 

^C.P.R. (Letters), i. 319. 

^Theiner, No. 660. In 1348 the Archbishop-elect of Canterbury 
has permission to borrow 16,000 gold florins for a similar object (C.P.R. 
(Letters), iii. 39). And in 1345 Thomas, elect of Ely, is given a 
faculty to contract a loan of 12,000 gold florins for the like object (II?id. 
26). In 1309 the Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield is authorised to 
borrow 1000 marks to meet his expenses at the Apostolic see (C.P.R. 
(Letters), ii. 57). in 1313 the Bishop of Worcester receives permission 
to borrow 3000 florins (Ihd. iig). In 13 14 Walter, Archbishop-elect 


of Dunblane, was granted a faculty to contract a loan of 
looo florins to meet his expenses at the Apostolic see.^ 

of Canterbury, is allowed to borrow 15,000 florins of gold ; and in 1328 
Simon, Archbishop of Canterbury, is allowed to borrow 2000 lib. to meet 
his expenses at the Apostolic see {Ibid. 121 and 272). 

^C.P.R. (Letters), ii. 222. 



With a view to obviate by anticipation a possible con- 
fusion, it may be proper to explain that we do not purpose 
dealing with the temporal jurisdiction, civil or criminal, 
which bishops and abbats very frequently possessed. Such 
jurisdiction was what was granted in greater or less 
measure to all the greater and many of the lesser vassals 
of the crown. The bishops and abbats, as having been 
granted large holdings in lands, were commonly granted 
jurisdiction similar to that granted to temporal lords. 
The extent of the jurisdiction would in each case depend 
on the terms of the charter granted. The matter is put 
sufficiently clearly in the first book of Regiam Majestatem 
(cap. 4), a work which, though of English origin, may be 
taken as in general correctly setting forth Scottish practice. 
We cite it in the language of the old vernacular trans- 
lation : ' Of civill pleies, quhilks are nocht criminall, and 
touches nocht life and limme, some perteines to Provests 
and Baillies of Bourghs and Cities : others to the courts of 
Barons, Earles, Bishops, Abbats, and other frie-halders, qua 
hes their proper courts, conforme to the tenour of their 
chartours. And some criminall actions perteins to some 
of the Judges foresaids and to their courts : and chieflie to 
them qua hes power to hald their courts with sock, sack, 
gallous and pit, toll and thame, infangthief and outfang- 
thief. Except alwaies the pleis perteining to the King's 
court.' In a word, the jurisdiction of the greater ecclesi- 
astics was in their temporal courts the same as that of the 
other vassals of the crown to whom royal charters had 


conveyed the right of holding courts, the extent of the 
jurisdiction being set forth in the charter.^ 

To pursue this subject belongs rather to the history of 
Scottish civil and criminal law. We shall delay only to 
remark that it would seem that the grant of ' pit and 
gallows' {furca et fossa) is to be found less frequently in 
ecclesiastical charters. ^ Yet instances are not wanting of 
the fullest powers being conferred on courts held by 
ecclesiastical vassals. 

Not only were many ecclesiastics entitled to hold courts 
of barony {cum furca et fossa), but in several cases the 
ample jurisdiction known as a ' regality ' was conferred by 
the crown on ecclesiastical persons, which jurisdiction was 
exercised over their ' subjects,' that is, the inhabitants of 
their landed possessions. In matters of civil jurisdiction 
the ' lord of regality ' had powers in all respects equal to 
those of the sheriff: and his criminal jurisdiction, as 
Erskine puts it, 'was truly royal.' He might judge in 
the four pleas of the crown, and his jurisdiction was as 
ample as that of the justiciary, treason only excepted. 
Ecclesiastics ordinarily exercised their judicial functions 
by a steward or bailie {ballivus) — an office often occupied 
by some great noble, and not infrequently granted 
(strange as it may seem) in heritage.^ 

It will suffice for our purpose to notice a few examples. 
The regality of St. Andrews was granted by James II. to 

^ The interpretation of the terms ' soc,' 'sac,' 'toll,' ' thame,' 'infang- 
thief,' * outfingthief,' is dealt with in most treatises on feudal tenures. 
Of the earlier discussions on these terms one may consult Skene's De 
vcrborum sign'ificatione, Craig's Jus Feudale ; and of the later, Innes' Scottish 
Legal Antiquities. 

-Compare the Scottish statute, 'We ordain that no clerk shall dictate 
or write a sentence of blood i^sententiam sanguinis) ' (S.E.S. ii. 60). The 
generally prevailing view of the impropriety of ecclesiastics imposing a 
sentence of death or mutilation is clearly put in the statute of the 
Council of London in 1075, under Archbishop Lanfranc (reaffirming 
the decision of early councils) that 'no bishop, abbat, or any of the 
clergy shall judge a man to death or to the loss of a limb {membris 
truncandum), or give the support of his authority to judges who do so' 
{IV.C. i. 363). But the ballivus (or bailie) of the bishop's court could 
do what the bishop could not do. 

8 See Erskine's Institute of the Law 0/ Scot/and, book i. tit. iv. §§ 7, 8, 9. 


Bishop Kennedy and his successors in the see in 1452.^ 
The lands of the church of Moray were by the same 
monarch erected into a barony (known as the barony of 
Spiny), cum furca et fossa^ in 1451, and into a regality in 
the following year.^ In 1450 the bishop's possessions at 
Glasgow, already a burgh of barony, were erected into a 
regality.^ It may be added that several of the monasteries 
had grants of the ample jurisdiction of regalities. 

But our present concern is merely with the spiritual 
courts, or, as they are sometimes called, ' courts of 
Christianity' or ' consistorial courts.'* 

The cases which chiefly occupied the ecclesiastical 
courts were matrimonial suits, including questions of 
legitimacy and bastardy, and questions of dowry. To 
these were to be added the very important class of causes 
relating to testacy and intestacy, and the probate and 
interpretative construction of wills. Beside these topics, 
which formed the principal subjects upon which the 
canonists expended their legal ingenuity, cases of slander 
were commonly decided in the spiritual court. Moreover, 
the canon lawyers sought to extend the jurisdiction of 
their courts to all cases of contract, which had been forti- 
fied by the oaths of the parties. Again, there were many 
suits arising out of disputes as to patronage, and out of 
the non-payment of tithes, or dues, and the interference 
with the property of the Church ; and, lastly, many petty 
cases that would now be dealt with in the police courts, 
such as assaults on ecclesiastical persons and assaults and 
brawling in sacred places. 

Besides the causes which by general assent belonged to 
the jurisdiction of the bishop's court, a considerable 
amount of business came before this court by way of 
consent. This consensual jurisdiction arose from the 

'^ Jcis of Parliament, ii. 73, 74. 

^ Regis f. Ep. Morav. 223-226. 

^Regist. Ep. Glasg 375-377- 

* That the caution is not unnecessary may be gathered from the fact 
that so excellent a lawyer as the late Lord Fraser seems to have confused 
a grant of secular jurisdiction made to the Bishop of Moray by King 
Robert II. with the claims of spiritual jurisdiction. See Treatise on 
Husband and Wife (2nd edit.), p. 8. 


expressed or implied agreement of parties, and con- 
tracts frequently contain a clause of submission to 
the jurisdiction and arbitrament of the bishop or his 

The bishop of each diocese had his consistorial court 
presided over by a lawyer skilled in the canon law, and 
not infrequently well trained also in the civil law. This 
judge was known as the official. He appears to have 
been a deputy judge, not an inferior judge ; and from 
his decisions there was ordinarily no appeal to the bishop. 
The great diocese of St. Andrews had an official for each 
of the two archdeaconries into which it was divided. The 
Archdeaconry of Lothian, including, as it did, the capital 
city of the kingdom, supplied a large proportion of the 
causes dealt with. The official of the Archdeaconry of 
St. Andrews, besides the business proper to his district, in 
which he acted as a judge in a court of first instance, 
possessed also, at least after the creation of the arch- 
bishopric, a jurisdiction on appeal from the Officials of 
other dioceses, and from the Official of Lothian. 

It would seem that even after the erection of the 
archiepiscopal province of Glasgow causes from that 
province might be appealed from the judgments of the 
diocesan officials to the court of the Official Principal of 
St. Andrews. 

The paucity of records of the bishops' courts prior to 
the sixteenth century makes one welcome the notice of a 
rather curious case, which has been preserved where we 
should little expect to find it, in the Register of the 
Bishopric of Moray ^ which, like similar registers, is mainly 
a collection of charters relating to ecclesiastical property. 
It appears that in 1389 the Bishop of Moray and the 
Bishop of Ross conjointly sat in the church of the Black 
Friars at Inverness to hear and dispose of a case arising out 
of a dispute between husband and wife. The parties were 
persons in high station, the man being Alexander Stewart, 
Earl of Buchan, fourth son of King Robert II., better 
known to us by the expressive sobriquet, ' the Wolt 
of Badenoch,' and the woman being Euphemia, Countess of 
Ross. The sentence is all that remains of the process. 
But from it we learn that the bishops sat as the ordinaries 


of the parties, and, if I interpret the record aright, that 
the countess had fled from her husband, pleading that 
she was in terror for her life, and that her husband was 
cohabiting with another woman, a certain ' Mariota, 
daughter of Athyn.' The countess seems also to have 
somehow claimed independent control of her possessions 
as Countess of Ross. At all events, the judgment decreed 
that she and her possessions should be restored to her 
husband, that Mariota should be dismissed, and that the 
earl should give security that he would treat the countess 
decently in lecto et mensa^ in victu et vestitu^ and sine peri- 
culo mortis^ under a penalty of ijioo. The Earl of Buchan, 
who was present in person, faithfully promised to fulfil all 
and singular the requirements imposed by the judges, and 
gave as securities for the payment of the penalty for non- 
fulfilment of his engagement, the Earl of Sutherland and 
two others.^ It looks as though the action was that of 
the husband for the restoration of conjugal rights, includ- 
ing what doubtless the earl regarded as more desirable 
than the possession of the person of his wife, the 
possession of her property. The sitting together 
of the two prelates, the Bishop of Moray being ordi- 
nary of the earl and the Bishop of Ross of the 
countess, is a remarkable feature. Possibly there were 
counter cases, and that for convenience they were taken 

The records of the consistorial courts of Scotland have 
almost wholly perished, and the scanty remains which 
have survived are all of a late date. The earliest of the 
documents is a volume containing the judicial decisions 
{sententiae) of the Official of Lothian from 1512 to 1552. 
We also possess the judicial decisions of the Official 
Principal of St. Andrews from 1541 to 1554, and what is 
described as ' a rough minute book ' of the court of the 
Official of Lothian for a couple of years of the period 
included among the other documents. This last volume 
is known as the Liber Actorum. These three books are 
now in the General Register House, and have supplied 
the material from which extracts have been printed in the 
volume presented to the Abbotsford Club by the late 
'^Reg. Ep. Moray, pp. 353, 354. 


Lord Medwyn, and entitled Liber Officialis Sancti Andree 


If the contents of the Liber Actorum have been rightly 
interpreted it is evident that a vast amount of business 
was dealt with in the court of the Official of Lothian. 
' The court sat generally every week-day. It was 
constituted by the official or his commissioner ; and the 
number of cases that came before it at a sitting varies 
from fifteen to fifty.'- 

The general principles of the matrimonial law of the 
medieval Church have been dealt with elsewhere. It is 
enough to repeat here that according to the theological 
conceptions of the western church a valid marriage, 
which had been consummated, could never be dissolved. 
Hence divorce in the language of the canon law never 
signified such a separation of the parties duly contracted 
in consummated matrimony as would permit either of 
them to marry again. The word divorce was used either 
for a separation from bed and board {a mensa et thoro) on 
account of the infidelity or cruelty {sevitid) of one of the 
parties in a marriage acknowledged to be valid ; ^ or else 
for what was merely a declaration of the nullity of a 
marriage which had been contracted contrary to the law 
of the Church. In the latter case the decree of nullity 
was ordinarily accompanied with the judge's sanction for 
the parties each contracting a fresh marriage ' in the 
Lord.' Divorce in this latter sense was said, in technical 
language, to be a divorce from the bond of marriage 
{a vinculo matrimonii). 

There was an evident reluctance to grant a separation in 
cases of the alleged cruelty of the husband. Occasionally 
it was granted, and sometimes with the requirement that 
the husband should provide alimony for the wife and children. 
In other cases the separation was refused; but the husband 
had to give caution for the safety of the wife's person.* 

^Thc work of editor was performed by Mr. Cosmo Innes. 

"^ Liber Off. St. Andr. Preface, p. xii. 

3 Besides adultery and cruelty, certain other reasons, which need not 
be detailed, were allowed to be sufficient for an application for a 
divorce a mensa et thoro. 

* Ibid. Nos. 76, 131, 134, 149, 158. 


In the cases of divorce for adultery the guilty husband 
had to provide alimony, and sometimes to restore property 
or money which had come to him as his wife's dowry. On 
the other hand the guilty wife lost all right to any profit 
from ' dowry or donation.' 

But the great majority of the matrimonial causes are 
instituted with a view to divorce, in the sense of a declara- 
tion of nullity of the pretended marriage. And as the law 
of the medieval Church forbade the marriage of persons 
related to one another in any of the degrees of consan- 
guinity or affinity up to, and including the fourth, cases 
of divorce on this ground were of very considerable 
frequency. It was sometimes possible, we may suppose, 
for the contracting parties to ascertain whether they were 
related by blood {consanguinitas) with one another.^ 
Yet, when we remember that it was sufficient to invali- 
date a marriage if the parties were related by being 
descended from the same great-great-grandfather or from 
the same great-great-grandmother, there would be often 
to the most diligent inquirer considerable, or, indeed, 
insuperable difficulty in being absolutely secure. The 
family histories of the poor are not recorded, and a man 
might be living happily in wedlock for a score of years 
before some accident revealed to him that his reputed wife 
was a third cousin, and therefore no real wife in the eye of 
the Church, and that his children were illegitimate. But 
the doctrine that affinity up to and including the fourth 
degree was an impediment to marriage vastly increased 
the uncertainty whether a marriage was valid or not. 
According to the Church, affinity was created equally 
by illicit intercourse and by marriage. An act of pre- 
nuptial unchastity, let us suppose, on the part of the man 
with a woman related to his future wife in the fourth 
degree of consanguinity invalidated his marriage. It was 
obviously possible for a man, by keeping the evil secrets 
of his early life to himself, to contract a marriage which 
he would be able at any time to get declared null in the 

^ Even among the nobility ignorance is often pleaded in petitions for 
a dispensation from the Pope for a marriage already contracted and 
solemnised between parties related to one another in the fourth degree 
of consanguinity. 


consistorial court. Nor was it always the man who took 
advantage of the ecclesiastical law in this respect. 

The records of the consistorial court bring before us 
the case of Jonet Betoun, afterwards ' the Ladye of Brank- 
some tower,' who figures in Scott's Lay of the Last Min- 
strel. The suit was brought by ' the honourable lady, 
Jonet Betoun, Lady of Cranstoun Riddall,' against the 
* honourable man, Simon Prestoun, Younger, Lord of 
Craigmillar,' for divorce, on the ground that before her 
marriage with Prestoun, she had sinned with the * honour- 
able man, Walter Scott of Buccleuch,' to whom Prestoun 
was related in the third and fourth degrees of consan- 
guinity. The divorce was granted, ' dowry and donation ' 
were to be returned by each of the parties, and each was 
pronounced free to marry ' in the Lord.' The lady 
thereupon marries her former lover, Buccleuch. In this 
case there is no pretence that there had been any promise 
of marriage between Jonet and Walter. The lady pro- 
claims her own shame, and obtains her desire.^ 

The matrimonial adventures of Margaret, sister of 
Henry VIII. of England, and queen of James IV., make 
a curious story, more^ limited in range, but scarcely less 
scandalous than that of her royal brother. In 1502 she 
was affianced to James, and a papal dispensation had to be 
procured for the marriage, as the parties were related to 
one another within the prohibited degrees. - 

After the death of the king at Flodden, the queen 
scarcely waited for her recovery after giving birth to the 

1 Lib. Off. 5. Andr. p. 86. 

2 The relationship was the fourth and fourth of consanguinity : 

John Beaufort, Earl of Somerset, d. 1410. 

I I 

John Joan Beaufort 

Duke of Somerset, d, 1444. m. James I. 

I I 

Margaret Beaufort m. James II. 

Edmund, Earl of Richmond. 


Henry VII. James III. 

I I 

Margaret. James IV. 


king's posthumous child (Alexander, Duke of Ross), 
before she married the youthful and handsome Earl of 
Angus. Presently growing tired of Angus, she sought a 
divorce. Various grounds were alleged, among others 
that she was not a widow at the time of her marriage, be- 
cause James IV. was not killed at Flodden, but had survived 
for three years in secrecy near Brankston. This allega- 
tion was ineffective, but the marriage was set aside on the 
ground of a precontract of marriage, in which Angus had 
been one of the parties. The papal bull confirming the 
divorce contained a clause pronouncing the legitimacy of 
the offspring of the marriage, the Lady Margaret 
Douglas, afterwards mother of Henry, Lord Darnley.^ 

The new object of the queen's affections was Henry 
Stewart, afterwards created Lord Methuen, a son of Lord 
Avondale.2 But before long this lady of fickle heart grew 
weary of Methuen, and a new action for divorce was 
instituted by the queen. Again she was successful, and 
this time the divorce was granted on the ground that 
Methuen was related to Angus in the fourth and fourth 
degrees of consanguinity.^ 

The last, or one among the last, of the divorces granted 
by the consistorial court of the Archbishop of St. Andrews 
under the old laws, was that granted on 30th May, 1563, to 
Hugh, Earl of Eglinton, against his reputed wife, the 
Lady Jane Hamilton, daughter of the Duke of Chatel- 
herault. In effect it was a declaration of the nullity of 
the pretended marriage on the ground that the parties 
were related to one another in the fourth and fourth 
degrees of consanguinity.* 

Other causes of divorce brought under our notice by 
the records of the Scottish consistorial courts are only 
such as would everywhere be recognised as vitiating the 

1 Bishop Lesley says, * Archiepiscopus Sanct-andreapolitanus divortii 
sententiam tulit, ea tamen lege ut proles ex eo matrimonio suscepta,, 
propter parentis, saltern Reginae, ignorantiam, nihil indedamni pateretur,'' 
De Reb. Gesi. p. 399 (edit. 1578). 

2 Methuen was pronounced Meffen, and was so sometimes spelled. 

3 Lib. Off. S. And. p. 60. 

4W. Eraser's Memo, of Montgpmeries, ii. 163 fF. 


pretended contract. There are cases of violent abduction 
when the woman gave no true consent, but only yielded to 
terror, and cases of ' error,' when one woman was passed 
off on the man for another. And other causes, which 
need not be here particularised, that have been everywhere 
acknowledged both by civil and ecclesiastical law as dissolv- 
ing the marriage contract, may be found exemplified in the 
Liber Officialis. 

I am afraid it must be admitted that Scotland, at least 
towards the close of our period, had a certain pre-eminence 
for the frequency of cases of divorce. John Mair (Major), 
whose residence out of Scotland had made him acquainted 
with life in England and in France, and who knew Paris as 
well as he knew Edinburgh, an honoured theologian of the 
Sorbonne, who was proud of his native country, a man ' of 
the old learning,' but singularly fair-minded, does not 
hesitate to declare (writing in 1521), 'The Scots of our 
time too lightly resort to divorce ; and most laymen think 
it suffices to their souls' health that a divorce should be 
pronounced in the consistorial court {in foro exteriori) 
on the statements of false witnesses ; and so they live in 
adultery with other women whom they think to be their 
wives.' ^ This testimony of Mair points to what is not 
revealed in the brief and formal sententiae of the judge, that 
perjury and the subornation of witnesses too often formed 
a feature of the proceedings. 

Through the accident that the sentence of the official 
of the consistorial court of an earlier date has been 
preserved in an Act of Parliament we are put in possession 
of the pleas put forward in a cause celebre of the fifteenth 
century, which ended in the divorce of Alexander Stewart, 
son of James II., and Duke of Albany, from the Lady 
Catherine Sinclair, daughter of William, Earl of Caithness. 
The proceedings in the suit had, it appears, been going on 
for some time, but it was not till 9th March, 1476-77, that 
definitive sentence was pronounced in the church of St. 
Giles, Edinburgh, by the Official of Lothian. Their 
spousals per verba de futuro had been followed by carnali 
copula. But the ground of the declaration of the nullity 
had nothing to do with the secrecy of the union, or with 
^ Hist. MaJ. Brit, lib. v. c. xxiii. 


the contract being only per verba de futuro. The judg- 
ment of the consistorial court was based solely on the fact 
that the parties were related to one another in the fourth 
and fourth degrees of consanguinity. As was usual in 
such cases the parties were allowed to contract fresh unions 
in Domino. The duke married as his second wife the 
Lady Agnes of Boloigne, and of this marriage John, Duke 
of Albany, was the offspring. The whole matter^ came 
before Parliament in 151 6, as bearing on the succession to 
the crown of Scotland. On that occasion Alexander 
Stewart, the son of Catherine Sinclair, appeared in 
Parliament. He was then Commendator of Inchaffray. 
Parliament declared that he had been born a bastard, and 
he himself publicly stated before the three estates that he 
had never * right nor mind to succeed in any manner to 
the said umquhile Duke of Albany.' 

The Parliament on this occasion mentions that the 
parties in the divorce had made their pretended marriage 
* quietly without any publication or solemnities required 
thereunto, against the decretes and constitutions of the 
Kirk.' But it is certain that that fact would not have 
invalidated the marriage in the eyes of the Church.^ 

The result of our whole inquiry is that the rule as to 
the prohibited degrees was commonly made use of when 
the man and woman had grown tired of one another ; 
while for those who were content to remain in union it 
was easy to obtain a dispensation for continuing to live as 
man and wife, and a declaration of the legitimacy of their 

Apart from suits for divorce, some notion of the very 
miscellaneous character of the cases brought under the 
review of the consistorial courts may be gathered from 
the following specimens selected from the sententiae printed 
in the Liher Officialis. These notices suffer much from 
abbreviation, but they will suffice for our purpose. 

(i) Sibil Halkerstoun, or Bertrem, who is the patron 
of the chaplaincy attached to the altar of St. Laurence in 
the collegiate church of St. Giles, Edinburgh, brings an 
action against the chaplain, Andrew Steward, who by the 
sentence of the court is removed and deprived ' for his 
'^Jct. Pari. ii. 383. 


demerits and delicts committed and perpetrated contrary 
to the tenor of the foundation of the chaplaincy.' The 
lady is authorised to present a fit person to fill the 
chaplaincy thus vacated.^ 

(2) James Achinsoun, chaplain and ' farmer ' (Jirmarius) 
of the vicarage of the parochial church of Creichtoun, sues 
Andrew Heriot, executor of the late Jonet Borthwick, his 
spouse, for the mortuary due on her decease. He is 
awarded the second best animal and eight merks Scots."^ 

(3) The court gives sentence compelling submission to 
a decree arbitral in a matter submitted for adjudication to 
arbitration. This is an example of consensual jurisdiction.^ 

(4) Alex. Gordoun, 'donatory' of the movable goods 
and debts of the late D. Gordoun, vicar of Stirling, 'bastard 
and illegitimate,'* sues James Crag, presbyter, for sixteen 
pounds, probably alleged to be a debt due to the deceased.^ 

(5) The court declares a certain will to be forged.*^ 

(6) Margaret Smyth is condemned, for defamation of 
Margaret Rettray, to appear on the next Sunday at the 
time of high mass (^tempore magnae missae) before the altar 
of our lady of pity within the church of St. Giles, 
Edinburgh, and there publicly on her knees to ask the 
forgiveness of Margaret Rettray." 

(7) Ellen Bell is excommunicated for having cruelly 
struck in the face, with her fist, Mariot Harlabanks in 
the church of St. Giles, Edinburgh, and in the presence 
of the sacrament. The offender is ordered to appear on 
the next Sunday in the new aisle of the holy blood within 
the said church at the time of high mass, and in the 
presence of the judge, or his substitute, the provost of 
the city and others, to offer to the priest celebrating mass 
a lighted wax candle of half a pound in weight, to ask his 
forgiveness, and on bended knees, and with face uncovered, 
humbly to beg the pardon of the judge and of the woman 
whom she had assaulted. After which she was to be 

"^Lib. Off. S. Andr. p. 123. ^ Ibid. p. 119. ^ Ibid. 

*Thc reason why the words bastardi et illegitimi are added was 
probably because according to Scots law a bastard was incapable of making 
a testament. [The * donatory ' may thus have received a grant from the 

^Lib. Off. S. Andr. p. 118. ^ Ibid. p. 126. 'Ibid. p. 127. 


absolved from the excommunication. Nor was the absolu- 
tion to be granted in any other way than prescribed.^ 

(8) The sacrist of the collegiate church of St. Giles 
sues the dean {decanus) of the Guild of Bakers and the 
master of the fabric of the altar of St. Hubert in that 
church for certain sums in consideration of services ren- 
dered on St. Hubert's day last past. The defenders are 
condemned to pay xviij d. for the ringing of the bells, 
xviij d. for ' le organ is playing,' and viij d. for ' le sans' 
on St. Hubert's day.- 

(9) The provost of the collegiate Church of Dunglass 
obtains sentence against James Morisoun for the mortuary 
of his late wife, namely, forty shillings instead of the 
' upmaist claith ' i^pro veste superiori) and thirty shillings 
pro preciosiore animali.^ 

(10) The chaplain, 'farmer' {firmarius) of Ednam, 
obtains sentence against the Prioress of Eccles, ordering 
her to deliver to the chaplain aforesaid, the ' umaist ' or 
' upmaist claith ' and other funeral dues on account of 
Elizabeth Hendersone, parishioner of Ednam, notwith- 
standing that the said Elizabeth died in the parish of 
Eccles and was buried in the parish church of Eccles.^ 

(11) The judge declares a deed of resignation of the 
lands of Selmys made by Andrew Elphinstoun in favour 
of the Earl of Mortoun, and registered in the books of 
the consistorial court to be null and invalid." The reasons 
are not given. This would seem to have been a case 
submitted to the court by consent. 

(13) The Earl of Bothwell (Patrick, anno 1532) is 
excommunicated for ' unjust and daring intromission ' 
with certain tithes of corn without the licence of the Arch- 
bishop of St. Andrews.6 

(14) The procurator fiscal of the Archbishop of St. 

^IbU. 132. 

^IbU. p. 134. In October of the same year, 1536, we find that the 
sacrist had again to sue the bakers for the organ playing and * le sans' on 
St. Monan's day — the first of March — and for ringing the great bell on 
the morrow of the anniversary celebrated for the brethren of the Guild of 
Bakers. The * sans ' is, I suppose, incense. Bellenden used 'sense* 
with that meaning. 

^Ib'td. p. 127. ^Ibid. p. 128. ^ Ibid. p. 124. '^ Ibid. p. 130. 


Andrews petitions the court to declare that the prior of 
Pittinweme and the monks of that convent, and another, 
have incurred ' irregularity ' on account of an alleged 
case of manslaughter, etc.^ 

(15) John Crag, burgess of Haddington, died intestate : 
the Archbishop of St. Andrews claims the right of 
appointing executors ; this claim is opposed by George 
Waik, but the archbishop's claim, made in the court by 
his procurator fiscal, is sustained.^ 

(16) The parishioners of Libertoun, and the masters of 
the fabric of the parish church, whom I take to have 
corresponded to our modern churchwardens, bring serious 
charges against the vicar. The court suspends him for 
three years ' for his enormities and crimes,' and excom- 
municates him for contempt, and disobedience to the 
letters of the archbishop.^ 

(17) The action of Isobel Keringtoun and her husband, 
Robert Litstar, against Jonet Brus for defamation brings 
before us the low billingsgate of a woman in the public 
street. The sentence of the court has preserved for us 
a fine specimen of coarse vernacular abuse. Besides the 
wax candle which had to be presented to the church, and 
the begging of forgiveness from the injured parties, the 
offender had to pay ten pounds Scots.* 

(18) We have three or four cases where the court is 
invoked to decide as to disputed elections to the office of 
parish clerk, which was commonly, at this time, in the 
hands of the parishioners.^ 

These much curtailed and imperfect notices will give a 
better notion of the miscellaneous character of the business 
that occupied the ecclesiastical courts than any mere 
general statement. 

There is reason to believe that the courts of the Church 
commanded general respect. The procedure was exact, 
and the judges were drawn from a large body of well- 
trained lawyers. To say that they were always above 

^ Ibid. p. 129. 'Irregularity' is .in inability imposed by canon law 
to receive 'orders ' in the church or to exercise the functions attaching 
to * orders ' already possessed. 

"Ibid. p. 132. ^Ibid. p. 136. ^ Ibid, p. 138. 

^Ibid pp. 117, 120, 131, 137. 


external influence would be to claim for them what could 
not be justly claimed even for the king's justiciars. The 
general desire was to do justice ; and there are but few 
indications of any disposition on the part of the judges to 
be respecters of persons. Judgment was often given against 
bishops and abbats, as well as against the great nobles. 

As customary in other courts of law, the costs of the 
suit were generally to be paid by the loser. The taxing 
(jaxatid) of the costs, that is, their estimation, was reserved 
to the court. 

The probate of wills, and all suits arising out of testa- 
mentary dispositions and last wills, were dealt with in the 
ecclesiastical courts. For some reason which is not 
apparent, it was thought desirable in the year 1420 to 
have a formal inquiry made as to the custom of the 
Church in respect to the probate and execution of testa- 
ments. In the provincial council held in that year at 
Perth, the conservator (William Stephenson, Bishop of 
Dunblane) directed the senior clergy of each diocese to be 
sworn, and give evidence as to the usage in their respective 
dioceses. They were unanimous in declaring that beyond 
the memory of living man the practice had been that the 
bishops and those possessing ' ordinary jurisdiction '^ had 
confirmed ' the testaments and codicils ' of those dying 
within their respective circuits of jurisdiction, and had 
appointed executors to those who had died intestate. 
They had also caused the goods of the deceased to be 
' sequestrated ' (that is, they prevented such goods being 
dealt with by any one) until the testaments had been 
presented to the ordinaries, and had by them been law- 
fully confirmed. Moreover, it was declared that the 
ordinaries had been accustomed to require from the execu- 
tors, as well of the intestate as of those who had left 
wills, an oath of faithful administration, and an obligation 
upon themselves to render an account of their intromissions 
to the ordinary and to those who had an interest in the 
administration of the trust. Inquiry was also at this time 

^'Ordinary jurisdiction,' that is, a jurisdiction based on canonical 
constitution, and not delegated. Thus a bishop's vicar-general, though 
appointed by the bishop, possesses after appointment ' ordinary jurisdic- 
tion,' and similarly with the official principal. 


made on oath as to the proportion {quota) allowed to the 
ordinary for confirmation of the wills. The testimony- 
was that the custom had been to divide the movable goods 
of the deceased into three parts, of which (after the pay- 
ments of the debts of the deceased) one part went to the 
wife, one part to the children, and one part (which was 
sometimes called 'the dead man's part') was used by the 
executors for the payment of the funeral expenses, ' for 
the soul ' of the deceased, — that is, for masses and 
prayers, — and for the payment of legacies. From this 
third part there also fell to be paid to the ordinary for the 
confirmation of the will and his labours thereanent twelve 
pence in the pound, or a composition for the same. There 
is evidence which goes to show that the five per cent, was 
rated on the whole of the movable estate of the deceased, 
though actually payable from the 'dead's part.'^ The 
practice and ancient custom, borne witness to at this 
provincial council, was now enjoined on ' the clergy and 
people ' as the rule of the Church.- 

As concerns what relates to the division of the movable 
goods of the deceased into three portions, one for the 
widow, one for the children, and one for 'the dead's part,' 
the Church courts were only giving effect to a custom 
widely recognised in various parts of Europe. So far as 
I am aware the custom was recognised in all parts of 
Scotland. But we have the testimony of Lyndwood that, 
though common, it apparently did not prevail everywhere 
in England. He discusses the question what is to be done 
if the goods of the deceased are partly in a place where 
the rule prevails that half goes to the wife, and partly 
in a place where the rule is that only one-third goes to the 
wife. His answer is, that the rule of each place should 
have force in respect to the goods situated in that place.^ 

^ See Erskine's Institute, book iii. tit. ix. § 28. This was known in 
legal phraseology as ' the Quot of Testaments.' [See also Stair's Institu- 
tions, ed. 1832, ii. 8. 25.] 

2 S.E.S. ii. 77, 78. 

^ Provincial, Vih. iii. tit. 13 (in the Oxford edit, of 1679, p. 172): 
Notes to Consuetuditiem Patriae, and Defunctos contingit. In France the 
legitima was the third part of the deceased's goods, which of necessity 
went to the heirs. See Consuetudines Ducatus Burgundiae (edit. Lugduni^ 
1682), col. 930. 


Reverting to the distribution of the movable estate as 
recognised by the ecclesiastical courts of Scotland in 
medieval times, our Church records are very brief and 
imperfect. For instance, the cases are not dealt with of a 
man dying but leaving no widow, or leaving no children, 
or leaving neither wife nor children. But the deficiency 
in our records may, I believe, be safely supplied by what 
Lyndwood indicates was the English rule, namely, that 
when there was neither wife nor child, the whole was at 
the disposal of the testator, and that when there was 
either wife or child, half was ' the dead's part,' and the 
other half went to the wife or child, as the case might be.^ 
Certain early decisions of the Court of Session, so far as 
they go, fall in with this.^ The old collections of laws 
in Regiam Majestatem and the burgh laws all concur in 
speaking to the threefold division of the movable goods 
and gear, while Regiam Majestatem testifies to half being 
at the disposal of the testator in the event of his wife 
having died before him.^ 

Of course we must remember that there is always a 
considerable element of uncertainty as to how far Regiam 
Majestatem accurately represented the actual state of the law 
in Scotland. Yet in default of positive evidence we may 
conjecture that the practice in Scotland may have been 
similar to the law of England, as expressed in 31 Edward 
III. cap. II, which provides that in the case of intestacy 
the ordinary shall depute ' the nearest and most lawful 
friends of the deceased to administer his goods ; which 
administrators are put upon the same footing, with regard 
to suits and to accounting, as executors appointed by will.'* 
In England, after assigning their partes rationahiles^ — a 
third each to the wife and to the children, — it was the 
general use in the case of intestacy to claim the whole of 
the dead's part for the Church to be spent on pious uses 

^ Provinciale, ibid. p. 178: Note to Defunctum. 

2 See the decision in the case of Lady Glamis contra Lord Gray (a.d. 
1503), as cited in Balfour's Practicks, p, 217, where more will be found 
on this subject. 

3 See lib. ii. c. 37 and Leges Burgorum, cap. 125, sec. 4. 
* Blackstone, Commentaries, book ii. chap. 32. 


and for the relief of the poor. Such disbursements were 
said to be pro salute animae of the deceased. 

The successful efforts of certain of the monastic orders 
to obtain exemption from episcopal control made it neces- 
sary for the bishops, in the interest of the testators, to put 
a restriction on the employment of religious as the 
executors of wills. An account of the property bequeathed 
had to be furnished to the ordinary, and the executor, in 
all ordinary cases, could be compelled to appear, and 
furnish such account, in the consistorial courts. This 
was obviously reasonable and necessary. But executors 
of the exempt orders could simply plead their exemption 
from episcopal jurisdiction. It was for this reason that 
the following statute (of the thirteenth century) was 
enacted : ' Inasmuch as an accurate account of the goods 
bequeathed in the testament of any one should be made 
and rendered to the ordinary of the place, and inasmuch 
as the Cistercians, and others exempt, cannot be com- 
pelled to render such an account, as they allege, we there- 
fore decree that no exempt religious may be constituted 
executors ; and if such have been constituted executors, 
the appointment shall be held as utterly void.' ^ 

The readers of Sir David Lyndesay will recall an allu- 
sion to the evil referred to in the statute where, in the 
testament of the king's papyngo, the dying papyngo is 
beset by three ecclesiastical persons, the pie, a canon- 
regular, the gled, ' ane holy frier,' and the raven, a black, 
monk, all desirous to hear her confession and to be 
appointed her executors. The reply of the papyngo, 
bearing in mind that the * senye ' is the vernacular for 
the consistorial court, speaks for itself 

* It dois abhor my pure perturbit spreit 
Tyll male to zow ony confessioun : 
I heir men saye, ze bene one ypocrite, 
Exemptit frome the senze and the sessioun. 
To put my geir in zour possessioun, 
That wyll I nocht.' '- 

In England similar restrictions had to be imposed. In 
the constitutions of Archbishop Peckham (1281) it is laid 

1 S.E.S. ii. 18. 

-Sir David Lyndesafs irorks (E.E.T.S.) p. 247. 


down in conformity with an earlier ordinance, adopted at 
a council at Lambeth, that no religious * of whatever 
order ' {cujuscunque professionis)^ without the licence of the 
ordinary, should be permitted to be the executor of a 
testament. Peckham adds that, moreover, the superior of 
the religious must give caution that the religious in such 
a case will execute the will faithfully, and render an 
account to the ordinary without raising any difficulty [on 
the ground of exemption].^ 

As we have already seen, the witnesses in the provincial 
synod, 1420, testified to the recognised practice of the 
ordinaries in each diocese appointing executors to deal 
with the property of persons dying intestate. Such execu- 
tors were known as executors dative^ in distinction from the 
executors appointed by one who had made a will, these 
being known as testamentary executors. 

In Regiam Majestatem (lib. ii. cap. xxxviii. 2) it is laid 
down that if the testator shall have named no executors, 
his near relations and kinsfolk {propinqui et consanguinet) 
may offer to act. But the determination of the executors, 
it would seem, still belonged to the ecclesiastical judge. 

The statutes that go under the name of the Assize of King 
William declare that, ' If any free man shall die intestate 
his goods shall be distributed by the hands of his friends 
and relations (amicorum suorum et parentum) and by provi- 
sion of Holy Church, excepting such debts as the deceased 
owed.' This limits the choice of the executors to the 
family and friends ; it was from such the Church was 
to make its appointment ; but the nature of the distribu- 
tion was to be fixed by the ordinary. The rule that the 
movable goods were to be divided into three parts, — the 
wife's part, the children's part, and the Mead's part,' — 
seems to have held good in this case as in the case of the 
testate. But in the case of one dying intestate, if I 
understand correctly the sense of one of the thirteenth 
century statutes,^ a third part of the * dead's third ' was 
claimed by the Church, apparently as ' mortuary,' of which 
more has been said in another place.^ 

1 W.C. ii. 59. The council of Lambeth referred to was that of i 261. 
See ibid. i. 754. 

2 S.E.S. ii. 44. ^ See p. i86. The text of this statute is very corrupt. 


A manifest hardship sometimes inflicted by the ecclesi- 
astical courts was dealt with by Parliament in i 540. In 
the case of the death of a minor (incapable of making a 
will), the ordinary naturally exercised his right to appoint 
executors. But as the preamble of the act states, these 
executors might withdraw the goods from the kin and 
friends that should have the same ; and it was accord- 
ingly enacted that the nearest of kin entitled to succeed 
should take possession, but without prejudice to the ' quot ' 
due to the ordinary.^ In effect the spirit of this enact- 
ment was confirmed, and its scope somewhat extended, by 
the provincial council of 1558-9. 

We learn from the statutes of the provincial council of 
1549 that the practice with regard to testaments in the 
islands of Orkney and Shetland was different from that 
which prevailed on the mainland of Scotland. We may 
presume that it was a persistence of the practice which 
existed in those places when the diocese was under the 
metropolitan jurisdiction of Trondhjem. The council 
enacted that the law of wills in those islands should be 
conformed to the law of the other dioceses of the 
kingdom. 2 

Ten years later, in the provincial council of the Church 
before the Reformation, it was enacted that the ordinary 
should appoint the executors, in the case of persons dying 
intestate, from among the kinsfolk or relations of the 
deceased, who were to render account at the end of 
the year to the ordinary of their intromissions. The 
same council enacted that neither the ordinaries nor 
their ' familiars ' were to receive anything from the goods 
of deceased persons except the customary ' quot.' ^ This 
provision obviously points to unwarranted exactions on 
the part of the officers of the court. 

The same provincial council terminated a rather vexa- 
tious distinction between the common law of Scotland and 
the law of the consistory as to the time when minors 
reach their majority. The ecclesiastical law had regarded 
twenty-five years, and the common law twenty-one, as the 
age when majority was attained. The new statute enacted 

1 Act. Pari. ii. 377. " Stat. Eccl. Scot. ii. in. 

3/^/V. 167. 


that in the ecclesiastical courts majority was attained at 
the completion of the twenty-first year.^ 

We possess various incidental notices illustrating, 
though, it must be confessed, imperfectly, the action of 
ecclesiastical courts in earlier times. The sentence of 
excommunication was inflicted for the graver offences 
against morality. In 1332, or about that time, the 
Official of Glasgow was waylaid and maltreated on a 
journey from Glasgow to Ayr by a layman whom he had 
excommunicated for adultery.^ The abbat and the 
majority of the monks of Melrose were in 1268 excom- 
municated for having invaded the sanctuary of Wedale, 
slain a cleric, and wounded others. And there is no 
doubt that the formidable weapon was used freely in 
contests where the rights and privileges of the Church 
were supposed to be invaded. A notable example was 
the excommunication of John of Dunmore, knight, who, 
in spite of the support of the king (Alexander III.) 
and his council, was brought to his knees by Bishop 
Gamelin of St. Andrews.^ A dispute originating in the 
removal of some cattle from the lands of the Abbat of 
Cambuskenneth resulted in the excommunication of the 
Bishop of Dunkeld.* 

Excommunication was, from the civil and social as well 
as from the spiritual side, a very formidable punishment. 
The denial of the rites of the Church and of Christian 
burial was accompanied by social ostracism ; and in 
addition, when the secular arm was invoked, excom- 
munication meant ruin. Excommunicated persons were 
denied the ordinary rights of citizens in the civil tribunals. 
They could not bear testimony ; they were refused 
* proof and acquittance ' in the king's courts.^ There is 
preserved the form of a ' brief of caption ' addressed by 
the king to sheriffs enjoining them to seize and imprison 
any person excommunicated within their jurisdiction who 
for forty days contumaciously persisted in despising ' the 
keys of Holy Mother Church.' ^^ In 1443 it was enacted 

'^ Ibid. 172. ^ Extracta ex variis cronicis Scocie, 159. 

^Scot'tckr. X. 22. *Chartultiry of Cambuskenneth, 317. 

^ Act. Pari. i. 744. ^ Quoniam Attachiamenta, Ixi. ; Act. Pari. i. 659. 


by Parliament that laws previously made by the provincial 
synod and by Parliament should be enforced, namely, 
that excommunicated persons should have no access to 
the court or to Parliament, nor be heard or answered in 
the law of judgment of fee or heritage, or other causes, 
till they amended and obtained absolution in form of law.^ 
A few years later (1449) we find an Act of Parliament, 
which points apparently to some laxity on the part of the 
officers of the crown in giving effect to the sentences of 
the ecclesiastical tribunals. It is therein provided, that 
when an excommunication is made known by the 
ordinary the king's letters of caption shall be granted, 
and ' the aulde law usit as effers [i.e. is fit].' It is further 
enacted that those under censure of the Church shall be 
put by the sheriff, or other officer, in ' the king's ward,' 
If the culprits were fugitive, their lands or goods were to 
be taken possession of, and those who had no lands or 
goods were to be ' put to the king's horn.' - 

In 1233 certain papal judges-delegate, the deans of 
Carrick and Cuningham and another, appeal to the king 
to lend ' the secular arm ' to punish an excommunicated 
person who continued contumacious.^ 

Persons who believed themselves to be unjustly ex- 
communicated could appeal to the Pope ; but this was a 
costly and tedious process. 

Doubts as to who was Pope during the great schism 
led the Parliament in 1400 to enact that if any one of the 
king's lieges believed himself to have been excom- 
municated by an unjust process he might within forty 
days appeal to the conservator, that is, the bishop elected 
annually by his brethren to preside at the provincial 
synod, who was with the aid of his council to pronounce 

^ Jet. Pari. ii. 33. 

-Ibid. ii. 35. The same rule had been in force in the Church of 
England. We find in 1391 a priest in the diocese of St. Asaph who 
had been excommunicated for contumacy in refusing to appear in the 
ecclesiastical court in a matter of dispute about the right to a certain 
benefice, imprisoned for two years by the secular power which had been 
invoked by the ordinary and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Cal. Pap. 
Reg. iv. 387-8. 

^Ibid.u 76. 


on the matter ; and if the party still felt aggrieved, there 
was a further appeal ' ad generalem cleri congregationem,' 
by which phrase, as I suppose, the provincial synod was 
meant. To this arrangement the clergy, as well as the 
others of the lieges, consented during the continuance of 
the schism.i There is no doubt that Scotland generally 
adhered to the anti-Popes ; but it would be possible 
for an objector to raise the question as to who was Pope. 
Hence the sensible decision arrived at by Parliament. 

The loss of civil rights, more particularly that of suing 
in the king's courts, entailed by the greater excommunica- 
tion is well illustrated in the case of Sir John Borthwick. 
He had been declared a heretic and excommunicated on 
28th May, 1540, by Cardinal Beaton, sitting in his court 
at St. Andrews, and assisted by the Archbishop of 
Glasgow, four bishops, six abbats, two priors and a con- 
siderable number of learned ecclesiastics. He himself was 
happily a fugitive ; but all his goods, movable and 
immovable, were confiscated. More than twenty years 
later, when the power of the reforming party made it safe 
for him to return to Scotland, he was incapacitated from 
seeking the restoration of his property in the civil courts 
until the sentence of excommunication had been reversed 
by *the superintendent and ministrie of St. Andrews,' 
who were now exercising the functions of a consistorial 
court. On the 5th September, 1561, with the observance 
of all formalities this court pronounced that the doctrines 
Sir John had maintained were not heretical, and that he 
* may persew his just accions befoir ony juge competent.' ^ 

'^Jct. Pari. i. 576. 

2S/. Andrews Kirk Session Register, edited by Dr. D. Hay Fleming 
(Scottish History Society), 88-104. 



Long before the opening of the period with which we 
are concerned the rule of the western church had 
forbidden the marriage of those in Holy Orders. But 
it was a rule which in many places was not regarded, nor 
enforced by authority. In the eleventh century a fresh 
and powerful impetus was given to the practical insistence 
on complying with the law by the energy and zeal of the 
masterful Hildebrand. He contended at all times that 
not only was the unmarried state nearer to the Christian 
perfection which became those engaged in the service of 
God, but that detachment from the ties of family was 
essential to the spiritual supremacy of the Church. 

In England before the eleventh century the marriage 
of the secular clergy had been common. Ordinances 
were enacted against the practice, but in many cases the 
bishops did not dare to enforce them. Indeed, as late as 
1 107 Pope Pascal II., writing to Archbishop Anselm, says 
that he understands that the majority of the clergy of 
England are married, and he grants to the archbishop 
permission to ordain their sons. In the following year 
the Council of London enacted stringent regulations, but 
the effect was small. Later on the ' secular arm ' was 
invoked ; and King Henry II. imposed a tax, or fine, 
upon the clergy who retained their wives. This was a 
device which brought him a considerable accession to the 
revenue. King John went further ; he seized the wives 
of the clergy, and exacted a heavy ransom for their release. 


The Church meanwhile passed enactment after enactment 
to restrain the practice. A recent historian of the Church 
of England has justly observed : ' The frequent repeti- 
tion of severe decrees in peremptory language sounds 
formidable, but as a matter of fact neither at this period 
(1060- 1 2 72) nor in the times which follow down to the 
reformation in the sixteenth century was the celibacy of 
the clergy very rigorously enforced in the English Church. 
It must be borne in mind that secular clerks did not, like 
monks, take a vow of celibacy, and although their 
partners were stigmatised by opprobrious names, most of 
them were in fact married ; and such unions were not 
void in themselves, but only voidable if the parties were 
brought up before the ecclesiastical court. Thus, although 
the priest who scrupulously observed the rule of celibacy 
was no doubt held in the higher esteem, the married 
clerk was by no means regarded as a reprobate, and the 
high-sounding penalties pronounced in the ecclesiastical 
synods against offenders were rarely enforced, except 
in a modified form.' ^ The passage which we have cited 
may without one word of alteration be applied to the 
medieval Church in Scotland. 

Dispensations from Rome, as we have seen, helped to 
make in many cases the written law of none effect. But 
law may be set at nought in other ways than by dispen- 
sation. The connivance of authorities with the violation 
of law is not less effective. And a most patent illustration 
of such practical connivance will be found throughout our 
whole period in regard to the general law of the Church, 
forbidding the marriage of the clergy. 

Though statutes were again and again enacted and 
again and again repromulgated, forbidding the marriage of 
the clergy, as a matter of fact the clergy of both England 
and Scotland during the whole of the period with which 
we are concerned were (in considerable numbers) living 
with women either in a relationship scarcely distinguish- 
able from marriage, or (less frequently) associated with 
them in looser or more temporary connexions. It is 
simply a matter of fact that for the five hundred years 

^ The English Church from the Norman Conquest to the Accession of 
Edward /., by W. R. W. Stephens, Dean of Winchester, p. 298. 


with which we are dealing enactment after enactment was 
launched by synods against what were called * concubinary 
priests ' ; and yet during the whole of that time the 
priest's concubine and the priest's children must have been 
familiar figures in a large number of Scottish and English 
parishes. It may be that as we approach the era of the 
Reformation the irregularities in the lives of the great 
ecclesiastics of Scotland were more shameless and more 
glaring than was common among the prelates and dignified 
clergy of England. But during by far the larger part of 
the period there seems to have been, so far so our evidence 
goes, little or nothing to choose in this respect between 
the conditions of things in the two kingdoms. 

The first of the Scottish statutes of the thirteenth 
century, dealing with this subject, declares in the preamble 
that the governors of the Church always sought to expel 
the ' putrid infection,' and that nevertheless it was always 
shamelessly showing itself. It was therefore determined 
to give effect to the statutes of the Roman pontiffs and 
especially to the decretals of Pope Alexander III. It was 
therefore enacted that clerks, and especially those in Holy 
Orders, who ' publicly ' kept concubines in their own 
houses or the houses of others must remove them within 
a month's time, or be suspended from office and benefice. 
Archdeacons and deans of Christianity are enjoined to 
make diligent search in all the deaneries whether this 
statute is observed.^ That the evil complained of was in 
no sense peculiar to Scotland is obvious from the fact that 
the language of the statute is transcribed from the consti- 
tutions of the Council of London held in 1237 under 
Cardinal Otho, the papal legate. 

Natural and, indeed we may say, right feeling would 
prompt the clergy living in this relationship to make some 
provision for their children and the women with whom 
they were cohabiting. The ecclesiastical law attempted to 
forbid this. Another Scottish statute, in the same col- 
lection as that the provisions of which we have cited, 
forbade clerks buying houses or possessions for the use of 
their concubines and their children ; and then went on to 
declare that if the clergy bequeathed anything to their 

^S.E.S. ii. 15. 


concubines, the bishop should divert such a legacy to the 
benefit of the parish which the offending clergymen had 

In a body of Scottish statutes that seem also to belong 
to the thirteenth century similar enactments are made, 
only more offensive language is applied to the woman who 
was the priest's associate.- The woman is not to be 
received in any church to the kiss of peace at mass, or 
to the benefit of blessed water ; nor is she to be received 
at confession unless she is ready to forsake her connexion 
with the priest. If she dies in the house of the priest 
she is to be refused Christian burial. On the offending 
clergyman, before more stringent measures were taken, a 
pecuniary fine was to be imposed.^ In the fourteenth 
century, if the priest persisted after due warning he was 
to be fined forty shillings and suspended ; failure to 
improve after a second warning was visited with a fine 
of ten marks ; and for a third offence he was to be 
deprived. The somewhat peremptory one month allowed 
in the thirteenth century for the priest to dismiss his 
concubine was, however, now extended to three months. 
From the fifteenth century no body of statutes has survived; 
but that the practice complained of continued is evident 
from other sources. Thus, Mary of Gueldres, when 
founding Trinity College, provided that any prebendary 
not dismissing his concubine or focaria, after being thrice 
admonished, should lose his prebend.* We have a similar 
ordinance (1449) ^^ respect to the collegiate church of 

Restalrig was erected into a collegiate church in 1487. 
It was a chapel royal, and was much favoured by royalty ; 
but that the lives of the prebendaries were not free from 

'^ Ibid. p. 17. 

2 The words used are focaria and fornicaria. These terms are applied 
here without any sharp distinction from concubina ; but they suggest a 
temporary connexion. Focaria is supposed to be derived from focus ; 
hence it means a kitchen-wench or house-lceeper. 

3 5.£.5. ii. 55. 

* See Marwick's Charter i relating to the City of Edinburgh, p. 105. 
^ Charters of the Collegiate Churches in Midlothian, p. 310. 


irregularity seems probable from the fact that James V., 
in a charter dated loth Oct., 15 15, thought it necessary 
to lay down a rule which is expressed in language so 
remarkable that it deserves quotation. It should be 
observed, to appreciate the full force of the passage, that 
special attention to church-music (both plain-chant and 
descant) was bestowed in the rendering of the services at 
Restalrig. ' Inasmuch,' says the royal charter, ' as the 
bellowing of bulls and the grunting of swine is more 
pleasing to God than the chanting of shameful sensualists, 
and as it is becoming that they should live chaste and 
spotless lives where bodies are made the sepulchre of 
Christ, and who daily sacrifice the spotless Lamb, the Son 
of the Virgin, we statute and ordain that no prebendary 
shall have or keep a concubine, or focaria, or women 
secretly introduced ; and if he shall do otherwise and have 
been three times warned by the dean or his deputy, if he 
does not amend or forthwith dismiss her really and 
effectually, his prebend after the third monition shall be 
judged vacant and shall be in fact vacant.' ^ 

In the sixteenth century we again have pronouncements 
against concubinary clergy; and the statutes of 1549 
point in addition to the practice of those in authority 
taking bribes to wink at the offences of the priests.'- The 
synod 'exhorts' prelates not to have the children born 
in concubinage to live with them, nor to advance them to 
preferments in the Church, nor to have them raised to 
the baronage, nor, finally, to provide dowries out of the 
patrimony of the Church for those of their daughters 
whom they married into noble houses. No one can 
doubt that, when these words were penned, the thoughts 
of the framers of the statute ran back to the notorious 
conduct of the Cardinal Archbishop of St. Andrews, who 
had fallen under the hands of assassins not three years 

The very last synod of the ancient Church met in 1559. 
In its belated zeal for a moral reformation among the clergy 
this synod indulges in language of extraordinary frank- 
ness. The law against ' concubinaries ' was to be put in 

* Charters of Collegiate Churches in Midlothian, p. 287. 

25.£.^. ii. 88. 


force against offending bishops and other prelates as 
well as against the inferior clergy. The two archbishops, 
' of their own accord, and for a good example to others,' 
agreed to submit themselves to the inquiry, and if need 
were, to the admonition of a commission, the members of 
which are named. The archbishops were empowered to 
apply the law against ' concubinaries ' to abbats, priors, 
and commendators, as well as to their suffragans ; and 
the suffragans were bound to execute the law in the cases 
of the inferior clergy. This much, it might perhaps 
be contended, was resolved on only to meet the popular 
clamour of the reforming party. But it is plain from the 
succeeding statutes, that there was an acknowledgment 
that the evils complained of were not imaginary but real. 

A statute was adopted providing that prelates and 
others should not keep and bring up their children be- 
gotten in concubinage in their ' families,' that is, in their 
households. They might have them with them for four 
days every three months, but not for a longer time. And 
when the children were with them it was to be in privacy 
{non palam). The penalty for a violation of this statute 
was to be {jloo in the case of an archbishop and ;^ioo in 
the case of a bishop or other prelate. The fines in the case 
of the inferior clergy were to be at the discretion of the 
ordinary. And the fines were to be applied ' to pious 

In another statute the synod forbids any archbishop or 
other prelate directly or indirectly giving or procuring 
Church-preferment to his children. Every such provision 
was to be null and void. And, that the statute might 
really be effective, the synod resolved to beg the queen 
to supplicate the Pope that his Holiness would in future 
grant no dispensations contrary to the purport of the 
statute, and that if such dispensations were fraudulently 
obtained without mention of the statute, they should be 
held as null and void. Lastly, another statute of the 
same synod is devoted to regulating the marriage and 
dowry of the daughters of prelates or other ecclesiastics, 
and the amount which might be bestowed on their sons. 
In no case were Church lands to be alienated, or let, 
to their concubines or their children. 


Here, after centuries of vain endeavour, is the last 
pronouncement made by the Scottish Church before the 
Reformation on the chastity of the clergy.^ 

Shortly before the holding of the synod of 1558-9 the 
Bishop of Aberdeen, William Gordon, son of the Earl of 
Huntly, had invited the dean and chapter of his diocese 
to give him their counsel as to the measures to be adopted 
for the ' stanching of heresies pullulant vi^ithin the Diocie 
of Aberdene.'^ The first advice given to the bishop is 
that he cause the ' kirkmen within his Lordschip's Diocie' 
. . . ' to remove thair oppin concubinis, alswell greit as 
small.' The chapter promises to put the lav/ in force in 
the sharpest manner ' on thairselfis.' After other good 
counsel, the chapter suggests ' that his Lordschip v/ald be 
so gude as to schew gude and edificative example, in 
speciale in removing and dischargeing himself of company 
of the gentilv/oman be [i.e. in respect to] whom he is 
gretlie slanderit.' 

The foundation charters of chantries in the sixteenth 
century bear the same testimony of the prevalence of evil 
lives of the chantry priests.^ 

Nothing could be more unreasonable than to accept the 
picture presented by such a humorous satirist as Sir David 
Lyndesay, if it were unsupported by other evidence. But 
the evidence for the immorality of the Scottish clergy in 
the middle of the sixteenth century is, unhappily, so 
copious and unimpeachable, that one hesitates to say that 
the poet was guilty even of exaggeration in the indictment 
which he sets forth in The Thrie Estatis. 

In 1550 Robert Schaw, a youth of eighteen, the son of 
a priest (a canon of Dunkeld) and an unmarried woman, 
obtained a dispensation from the Pope to be ordained a 
priest and to hold a canonry and prebend in the same 
cathedral, on the condition that he should not officiate at 

'^S.E.S. ii. 153-6. 

2 The reply of the chapter (which was transcribed by Father Thomas 
Innes) will be found in Keith's Affairs of Church and State, vol. i. p. cxx, 
and in R.A. i. pp. Ixi-lxv. 

^See an illustration in the foundation (1528) at St. Andrews for the 
souls of certain bishops of Orkney {Laing Charters, No. 368). 


the altar together with his father, and should not succeed 
to his father's benefices.^ 

When we are dealing with the sixteenth century the 
material for forming a judgment on the frequency of 
concubinary priests is ample. For the thirteenth, four- 
teenth, and fifteenth centuries our evidence from local 
sources is scanty. But the publication of the Calendar of 
Papal Registers supplies in the long lists of dispensations 
for the ordination of the sons of priests evidence of an 
unimpeachable kind. To the bishops of English dioceses 
faculties for granting such dispensations are bestowed with 
a liberal profusion. In Scotland the number is much less; 
but when we consider the vastly larger number of benefices 
in England and the much larger population of that 
country, it would be rash, without a more exhaustive 
examination, to say that the proportion of dispensations of 
this kind fell short of those in England. It must be 
remembered, too, that a dispensation from Rome cost 
money, and that Scottish ecclesiastics could not, as a rule, 
boast of revenues equal to those of their English brethren. 

It may be presumed that many of the sons of the parish 
clergy of Scotland would not follow their fathers' calling. 
With such, as, of course, with all the daughters of the 
family, the papal registers have but rarely anything to 

Both in England and in Scotland we find examples of 
benefices being handed down from father to son. This 
was contrary to the ecclesiastical law. Yet we find Pope 
Urban III., towards the close of the twelfth century, per- 
mitting the Bishop of Glasgow in cases of this kind, where 
the sons had claimed the benefices as of hereditary right, 
to wink at the violation of the law, or, as it is put in the 
language of the Pope, to allow it to pass sub dissimulatione^ 
on account of the length of time the benefice had been so 
held, and the worth of the occupants.- Early in the 
thirteenth century certain of the abbats of Jedburgh, sup- 
ported by their chapter, had granted certain of their 
appropriate churches to priests with a right of succession 
to their sons. This was condemned in 1221 by Honorius 
III. ; but it is referred to here as showing that the practice 
'^Lib. Offic. S. Jndree, p. xlii. ^R.G. i. p. 59. 


was not repugnant to the general sentiment of the 

There is reason for believing that popular sentiment 
was, on the whole, not hostile to these uncanonical con- 
nexions of the priests and their ' wives.' The temptations 
to which unmarried priests were exposed in the exercise of 
the sacrament of penance, and otherwise, are often 
referred to in the medieval statutes. The confessional 
was a source of danger then, as, indeed, it has always 
proved to be. And it is impossible that such rigorous 
condemnation of the sins of priests with their female 
penitents should find a place in the ecclesiastical statute- 
books without a cause.^ 

Returning for a moment to the Scottish statute of the 
thirteenth century, which enjoined penalties against the 
clergy who ' publicly ' kept concubines, it is perhaps right 
to observe that the qualification implied in the word 
* publicly ' is in no sense peculiarly Scottish. In fact it is 
drawn from the decretal letter of Pope Alexander III., 
which had been cited at the Council of Westminster in 
1 175, where we read, ' If any priest or clerk in holy orders 
{i.e. any priest, deacon, or subdeacon) who is in possession 
of a church or ecclesiastical benefice, shall publicly have a 
fornicaria^ Qtz.^ Again, at the Council of Oxford in 1222, 
it was enacted that ' no beneficed clerks, nor those in holy 
orders, shall presume to keep concubines publicly in their 
houses, or elsewhere, when they have public access to 
them.'* We have already referred to the constitutions of 
Otho at the Council of London in 1237. And to these 
instances where the emphasis seems to be laid on the 
iniquity of publicity in his doings on the part of the priest, 
we have to add an extract from the constitutions of Walter 
de Cantilupe, Bishop of Worcester, in 1240. 'We com- 
mand the archdeacons and our officials to make diligent 
inquiry whether any of them [i.e. beneficed clerks) are 
married, or publicly keep concubines in their houses or 

^Theiner's Monumenta, etc. No. 44. ^See S.E.S. ii. pp. 28, 48. 

3^^.0.1.476. *lbid.'\.6oj. 

^ Ibid. I. 672. 


The fact is, there seems to have been a good deal of 
discreet blindness to anything but what was glaringly and 
outrageously scandalous. The very large number of 
dispensations bestowed on the sons of priests for the 
purpose of being ordained and holding a benefice points 
to an unwillingness to deal hardly with what the clergy 
seem to have regarded as no more than a technical offence 
in disobedience to an ecclesiastical ordinance. Nothing 
but an exemplification of the facts in some detail could 
convey a conception of the state of things. But I can 
here do no more than exhibit a few of the numerous 
testimonies to the existence of the general indifference of 
the clergy to the canonical injunctions as to chastity. 

In the space of one year (1342) Pope Clement VI., besides 
many dispensations for the ordination of the bastard sons 
of laymen, granted dispensations that certain sons of priests, 
each of whom is named, may be ordained and hold one 
benefice each. The dispensations are addressed to the 
bishops of the following dioceses, after the name of each 
of which I have placed the number of dispensations 
granted. Canterbury, i ; Bath, 1 ; St. Andrews, i ; 
Chichester, i ; Norwich, i ; Exeter, 7; Lichfield, 10; 
Worcester, 5 ; Lincoln, 7 ; Hereford, 5 ; Winchester, 2 ; 
York, 6 ; St. David's, 3 ; Salisbury, 2} It would be quite 
a mistake to suppose that the dioceses not here named were 
more marked by adherence to Church discipline than those 
in which dispensations were granted. It is more likely 
that they simply were not at this time so exigent in their 
demands. Less than two years later the bishop of the 
small diocese of Dunkeld obtains a faculty to ordain six 
sons of deacons and six sons of priests.^ In 1344, on the 
petition of the Queen of Scotland, the Pope dispenses 
Thomas de Kinnemund (already dispensed for illegitimacy) 
to hold the canonry and prebend of Balhelwy in Aberdeen, 
his father having held a canonry and prebend in the same 
cathedral.^ In 1306 the deanery of Dunkeld was, by 
dispensation, held by the son of a subdeacon.^ In 1329 

'^Calendar of Papal Registers (Papal Letters), iii. pp. 65-7, 90-2. 
"^Ibid. 169. ^Ibid. 149. 

'^Cal. Pap. Reg. (Letters), ii. p. 10. 


Donald of Kingussie, son of a priest, receives a dispen- 
sation to be ordained and hold a benefice.^ In 1338 the 
Pope dispenses another son of a priest to be ordained and 
hold a benefice in the diocese of Moray. - 

In 1279 Pope Nicholas III. wishes the Dean of Caith- 
ness, who had been elected to the bishopric, to renounce 
any right he may have acquired, as he is said to be 
paralysed, and to have an illegitimate son 30 years of age 
and another whose age is not specified. If he refuses 
to resign, he must appear at Rome and be examined super 
literaturam and as to his bodily infirmities. 

In 138 1 Alexander, Bishop of Caithness, petitions the 
Pope, Clement VII. (after the end of the schism reckoned 
an anti-Pope), for license for fifty persons of illegitimate 
birth to be ordained and hold a benefice apiece. The 
largeness of this demand for the sparsely populated diocese 
of Caithness seems to have staggered the Pope, for the 
answer was, 'Granted for twenty- five of this city or 
diocese.'^ The petition, indeed, does not state that the 
dispensation was intended for the sons of the clergy. 
But its general terms (if they are correctly stated in the 
Calendar of Petitions) would probably be taken to include 
such. In 1 37 1 Glen, the son of a priest, in the diocese 
of Glasgow, is granted a dispensation to hold a second 
benefice.'* In 1402 we find the son of a priest holding a 
benefice in the diocese of St. Andrews, and praying for a 
dispensation to hold two more.^ In 1406 we find another 
son of a priest in priests' orders.*^ 

It would be easy to multiply examples of the frequency 
of sons of priests and other clerks, but, perhaps, when we 
add the instances already exhibited of bishops who had to 
be postulated as the sons of clerks, it may be taken as a 
sufficient indication of the facts. 

Faculties for dispensing sons of the clergy to be ordained 
and hold benefices were bestowed by the Popes with a 
lavish hand on their legates and nuncios to England. In 
1372 Gregory XI. granted a faculty to William de 
Carpentras, nuncio on a mission to France and England, 

^Ib'id. 302. 'Ibid. 544. ^C.P.R. (Petitions), i. 565. 

^C.P.R. iv. 166. 5/^/V. (Petitions), i. 618. ^ Ibid. 622. 


to dispense fifty persons of illegitimate birth, even the sons 
of priests and those born in adultery, to be ordained and 
hold a benefice apiece, with cure of souls.^ In 1380 the 
anti-Pope, Clement VIL, was even more profuse. Guy, 
cardinal priest of St. Cross in Jerusalem, had been 
appointed nuncio to England, Scotland, Ireland, and 
Flanders. He is granted a faculty to dispense two hun- 
dred persons on account of illegitimacy, whether sons of 
priests or not, to hold one, two, or three benefices.^ 
These examples, to which others could be added, go to 
illustrate the subject of this chapter. 

1 Cal. Pap. Reg. iv. 171. ^Ibid. 242. 



The relation of the papal exchequer to the national 
churches of Europe exhibits general features common to 
all countries ; and this chapter can do little more than 
furnish illustrations from Scottish sources of the ordinary 
methods of papal finance. 

At various times throughout the middle ages loud com- 
plaints were made in various countries of Europe against 
the exactions of the Roman court. The history of 
medieval England furnishes many examples of expostula- 
tion against papal rapacity. Scotland was more submissive ; 
and our records supply us with nothing like vehement 
protest till we reach the fifteenth century. The earlier 
development of parliamentary institutions in the southern 
kingdom may perhaps in part account for the difference. 
But however we may explain the fact, Scotland was with- 
out doubt a much more patient and docile daughter of the 

I. Peters Pence. — The earliest form of impost, in value 
comparatively small, was what was commonly known as 
Peter's pence, and in England as Peter's pence, Peter's 
silver, and, in early days, Romescot. This was originally 
a yearly tax of one penny (the silver denarius) from every 
house. It is a fact of interest that the very first notice of 
Scotland recorded in the Calendar of Papal Registers is 
about money. It appears from this notice that the Earl 
of Caithness and Orkney had granted a payment to the 
Pope of a penny from every house in his lordship, and 


that the tax had in fact been paid in the time of Andrew, 
Bishop of Caithness, who died in 11 84. But Andrew's 
successor, Bishop John, for reasons not assigned, attempted 
to prevent the continuance of the payment. In 1198 
Pope Innocent III. sent a mandate to the Bishops of 
Orkney and Ross to deal with their brother, and enjoin 
his submission.^ More than a hundred years later we 
find what looks like a disposition on the part of the 
Bishop of Orkney, then a suffragan of Trondhjem, to 
resist the tax. William, Bishop of Orkney, had cast into 
prison and despoiled a papal collector, and had appropri- 
ated 100 marks of Peter's pence. By mandate of the 
Pope (1326) he is ordered to make restitution, under pain 
of being summoned to Rome for disobedience.^ But 
these acts belong to a remote region, where even the 
prelates appear to have been affected by the general spirit 
of lawlessness. 

There are many notices of the appointment of agents, 
frequently foreigners, commissioned to collect Peter's 
pence in Scotland. The office was generally combined 
with the collectorship of tenths and other cess for the 
Roman curia, of which we shall have to say something 

There were difficulties in collecting this and other 
money for objects outside Scotland, and when collected 
there sometimes seems to have been a reluctance to part 
with it. Thus, about 1261 money had been collected for 
the relief of the Holy Land by the efforts of one of the 
Preaching Friars of Ayr. The sum was deposited with 
the Prior and Chapter of Whitherne with a view to its 
transmission to the proper quarter. But the canons 
declined to give it up ; and when the commissioned agent 
of the Pope, Leonardo, Precentor of Messina, papal 
chaplain and nuncio, sent a messenger to Whitherne to 
receive payment, the canons, after having beaten him, 
turned him away empty .^ But violent action of this kind 
was highly exceptional. 

In 1 2 13 Innocent III. complained that the bishops of 
England paid him only 300 marks a year for Peter's 
1 Cal. Pap. Reg. i. i. ^Cal. Pap. Reg. ii. 484. 

^Cal. Pap. Reg. i. 384, 385, 423. 



pence, while they retained looo marks for themselves. 
Still, for a long time the Pope contented himself with the 
traditional composition for Peter's pence, namely, ;^20i 9s., 
till in 1306 Clement V. demanded the true payment of 
a penny from every house. This demand appears to 
have been successfully resisted. Our Scottish records do 
not, I think, afford any light as to whether any composi- 
tion was made with Scotland for the revenue arising from 
Peter's pence. In 1329 we find that the papal nuncios, 
Bertrand Cariti and Raymund de Quercu, were granted a 
faculty by the Pope to exact Peter's pence from all 
persons in Scotland, ecclesiastics and seculars, and from 
monks, exempt and non-exempt.^ In 1335 another 
nuncio and collector of Peter's pence is commissioned to 

I have not been so fortunate as to light on any state- 
ment of the sum to which Peter's pence from Scotland 
amounted in any one year. 

2. Tenths. — There are occasional examples of the Pope 
demanding from the clergy of Scotland a certain pro- 
portion of their incomes for a specified number of years, 
to be applied to some specially urgent object, such as the 
relief of the Holy Land, or the defence and relief of the 
dominion of the Pope himself. As early as 1247 Pope 
Innocent IV. commanded the Bishop of Dunblane to 
collect the twentieth of all ecclesiastical revenues in Scot- 
land for aiding the Crusades.^ It was for the same purpose 
that the demand was made which resulted in the tamous 
new valuation of ecclesiastical property in 1275 ^7 ^^^ 
papal commissioner, Boiamund de Vicci. This official 
was directed not to accept the old valuation ot the 
property of the Church, which was admitted to be, in 
1275, below the actual value. He was empowered to 
exact an oath from the clergy to state the i'e7-us valor of 
their several benefices ; and upon this statement he was to 
proceed in exacting a tenth for the space o( six years. This 
was indeed a heavy burden. But the payment seems to 
have been made, on the whole, with extraordinary punctu- 
ality during the two years for which the statement of 
Boiamund's accounts have been preserved in the records 

^CV. Pap. Reg. ii. 490. -Ibid. 559. ^ Cal. Pap. Reg. i. 237. 


of the Vatican.^ But at the expiry of the five years we 
find that there were some defaulters ; for in April, 1282, 
Boiamund receives a mandate from Rome to warn those 
prelates and clerks who had incurred excommunication by 
non-payment to pay within a given time, and to make 
satisfaction for the delay, or else, in case of non-compli- 
ance with this order, to summon them to appear at Rome 
within three months.^ Nor was this the end of the affair. 
Boiamund himself is accused of failing to despatch the 
money collected to Rome, by reason, as he alleged, of the 
king's prohibition. 2 After this date a tenth is the favourite 
proportion in papal demands. 

It may be added that the clergy who were taxed had 
also to contribute to the expenses of the collection, having 
to supply ' procurations,' or a money payment in lieu of 
entertainment, to the papal collector. 

There is a notice of an Italian collector of tenths from 
Scotland in 13 16.* John XXII. included Scotland in his 
demand for tenths for the necessities of the Roman 
camera. In August, 1331, Scotland paid for tenths and 
fruits of void benefices \o\i\ marks (;^675) to the Italian 
collectors ; and before May in the following year an 
additional 1000 marks {£666 13s. 4d,). Unfortunately 
the amount from tenths is not given separately.^ Trans- 
lated into the corresponding value of our present 
currency, according to even the lowest computation, 
these sums represent a very large amount of money to be 
sent from a poor country.^ 

In 1372 Gregory XL, the last Pope of ' the Babylonish 
Captivity,' sent a mandate to each of the bishops of Scot- 
land to levy and exact, each in his diocese, except from 

■^ See Theiner's Monumetita, No. 264. One is likely to be misled by 
the heading of the document, which speaks of it as the accounts for three 
years, while in reality, when the details are examined, the tenths for only 
two years are recorded. 

2 Cal. Pap. Reg. i. 465. ^ Ibid. 469, 478. 

^Cal, Pap. Reg. ii. 126. ^ Ibid. 505. 

^ Dr. Cutts estimates the purchasing power of money in the thirteenth 
century as twenty-four times as great as now. This is perhaps an over- 
estimate {Parish Priests, 387). 


benefices held or to be held by cardinals, a tenth for one 
year of all church revenues, to aid in the recovery and 
preservation of the lands of the Roman Church.^ 
Gregory's expenses in the payment of his irregular troops 
were heavy at this time. 

The reference to the exemption of Scottish benefices 
held by Roman cardinals was not a mere surplusage of 
official language. In 1376 John, Cardinal Bishop of 
Tusculum, was provided to a canonry, prebend, and arch- 
deaconry of Glasgow ; and he held at the same time the 
archdeaconry of Ross. ^ 

3. First Fruits : Annates. — Our few Scottish chroniclers 
do not give us any substantial aid on the subject of these 
imposts. But from other sources we learn that the Pope 
used to regard the first fruits {primitiae) of vacant bene- 
fices, in Scotland as well as in England, as being at 
his disposal. Thus, in 1259 Pope Alexander IV. granted 
the indult to Robert, Bishop of Dunblane, to convert to 
the payment of the debts of the see the first fruits, during 
three years, of all the benefices and dignities falling vacant 
in the diocese.^ This kind consideration for Robert de 
Prebenda may perhaps be accounted for by a passage in the 
Chronicle of Melrose, which leads one to suspect that, on his 
promotion the year before, Robert managed to satisfy the 
demands of the Pope and cardinals for money.-* 

John XXII. was no sooner on the papal throne than he 
appointed a collector of first fruits, whose commission 
extended to Scotland as well as England.^ In 1332 the 

1 Cal. Pap. Reg. iv. loi, 150. 

2 C.P.R. iv. 255, 256. It was probably the comparatively small value 
of Scottish benefices that saved Scotland from other appointments of a 
similar kind. In England during the second half of the fourteenth 
century one cardinal held the treasurership of Wells and precentorship 
of Chichester ; another, the archdeaconry of Exeter ; another, the arch- 
deaconry of York and the archdeaconry of Leicester ; another, the 
provostry of St. John's, Beverley ; another, the archdeaconry of Berkshire; 
another, the archdeaconry of Canterbury ; another, the archdeaconry of 
Northampton ; another, the archdeaconry of the East Riding ; another, 
the deanery of Salisbury ; and several other examples could be added. 

8 Cal. Pap. Reg. i. 367. * Sub anno 125.;. 

'O;/. Pap. Reg. ii. 127. 


collectors in Scotland, Bertrand CaritI and another, trans- 
mitted to John XXII. at Avignon the sum of 1006 marks 
and 40 pence {C^i'jo i6s. 8d.), the fruits of void benefices 
in Scotland.^ In 1381 Clement VII., the anti-Pope, 
rewarded Scotland, which was faithful to his cause, by 
granting towards the rebuilding of the cathedral of St. 
Andrews, which had been destroyed by fire, one year's 
fruits of all benefices which fell vacant in the diocese 
during the space of ten years.- 

We have already seen (p. 283) how Scottish bishops 
were sometimes much embarrassed by the heavy expenses 
incurred at the Apostolic see on account of their promotion. 
We have good reason to believe that much money 
changed hands at Rome, or Avignon, of which no record 
remains in the ledgers of the papal camera. But even the 
regular official charges amounted to large sums. 

In 1259 John de Chyam was appointed to the bishopric 
of Glasgow. He had promised to pay to the Pope 800 
marks {£S2>?) ^s- ^"^O' ^^ enormous sum in those days, at 
the lowest computation over £6000 of our money. Of 
this he had paid 600 marks (;^40o) by October, 1261 ; 
but he had to be pressed for the balance, said to be for 
the cardinals. He is then warned that excommunication 
would follow if payment was not made ; and, as there was 
still delay, he is, in the following February, given fifteen 
days to pay up or suffer public excommunication.^ There 
was a great reduction in the papal charges by the fifteenth 
century, if the sum stated above is really to be taken as 
payments due for promotion. 

The respective revenues of the Scottish bishoprics, 
based, it would seem, on an old valuation, were recorded 
at Rome ; and the ecclesiastic succeeding to a bishopric 
had either to pay at once, or to oblige himself by an oath 
to pay, within a short specified period, a large proportion 
of one year's revenue. If he failed to implement his 
obligation he incurred the penalties of suspension, excom- 
munication, and interdict. From the account-books of 
the Roman camera of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries 
we learn the amounts paid for each Scottish bishopric. 
There are occasional slight variations in the records from 

1 CaL Pap. Reg. ii. 507. ^ Ibid. iv. 244. ^ Ibid. i. 380, 384. 


time to time ; but the following table compiled with some 
care from the pages of Dr. Brady's work on The Episcopal 
Succession (vol. i. Rome, 1876), and Eubel's Hierarchia 
CathoUca (vol. ii. Monasterii, 1902) will be found, it is 
believed, tolerably correct. I have added, when feasible, 
the value of the revenue {redditus) of the see, as stated at 
Rome. The payments recorded were known as the 
bishop's commune servitium^ which was divided equally 
between the Pope and the college of cardinals. 

Table of the Tax, known as Commune Ser\'k\um,paid to the Roman 
Camera from the Revenues of each See in Scot/and in the fifteenth and 
sixteenth centuries on the appointment of a Bishop. 

St. Andrews - - - 3300 gold florins. 

Glasgow- - - 2000 or 2500 „ „ 

Dunkeld- - - - 450 „ „ 

Dunblane _ - _ 800 „ „ 

Aberdeen _ _ _ 1250 „ „ 

Brechin - - - - 500 ,, „ 

Moray - - - - 1200 „ „ 

Ross _ - - . 600 „ „ 

Caithness _ _ . 600 (?) „ 

Galloway - - - 100 „ „ 

Argyll - - - no, once 200 „ „ 

The Isles - - 660, once 600 „ „ 

Orkney - - - - 200 „ „ ^ 

Beside the commune servitium^ recorded in the above 
table, which went to the Pope and the cardinals, five smaller 
payments had to be made, which were bestowed on various 
officials of the Roman court. These are known as ' small 

1 In the table given above, when alternative figures are recorded, it 
means that on different occasions the different figures are entered as the 
taxa. The records have to be read with care, and there are here and 
there manifest errors in the originals, or in Dr. Brady's transcript. Some 
startling figures require further investigation. But with regard to the 
majority of the sees the table may be relied on. The revenues of the 
sees are unfortunately recorded in only a few cases, and these are doubt- 
less based on an old valuation. St. Andrews is placed at 10,000 gold 
florins; Dunkeld at 3000; Aberdeen at 3000; Moray once at 2000, 
once at 1500 ; Ross at 2000, and on another occasion at only 1000. 
The small proportion between the taxa and the redditus of Dunkeld is 
suggestive of an error. Eubel (ii. 136) gives 750 florins for Caithness. 
It will be remembered that the small revenues of Galloway were supple- 
mented by the annexation of the abbacy of Tungland. 


services,' or minuta servitia. Thus John Laing, Bishop of 
Glasgow, on his promotion in 1473, beside paying his 
commune servitium of (apparently) 2500 florins, paid for 
one minutum servitium 89 gold florins 9 shillings and 3 
pence, and for three other minuta servitia, 67 gold florins 
4 shillings and 9 pence. The monasteries of Scotland 
were taxed at Rome in a similar way to the bishoprics. 
Dr. Brady's work, already referred to, supplies, though in 
an imperfect and confused manner, the taxae of many of 
the monasteries during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. 
To investigate and attempt to explain the variations and 
inconsistencies that mark Dr. Brady's extracts from the 
papal records would be extremely difl^cult, and for our 
present purpose not very advantageous. It is enough 
to say that everyone provided to the headship of any 
of the greater, and, at least, many of the lesser houses, 
whether in regular form or merely as holding the com- 
mendam, was compelled to pay at Rome sums bearing 
a certain, not quite clearly ascertained, proportion to the 
revenues of the monastery. Thus, for Arbroath 600 gold 
florins were paid ; for Paisley, in one case 600, in another 
1333; for Melrose, 1980; for Cambuskenneth, 400; for 
Balmerino, 200 ; for InchaflFray and Culross, 100 each ; 
for Lindores, 333. Even lona had its 20 florins to pay. 
From what has been said it will be perceived that con- 
siderable sums were from time to time despatched to 
Rome. And the particulars recorded above refer only to 
the commune servitium. The * smaller services ' had also 
to be duly paid.^ 

As has been already hinted, much money which was 
never entered in the account-books of the Pope or the 
cardinals made its way from Scotland to Rome, and was 
expended in bribes for the securing of coveted benefices. 
Things must have come to a sorry pass when the Parlia- 
ment of 1427 made the enactment that no clerk, whether 

1 The records In Dr. Brady's Episcopal Succession, vol. i., give rise to 
many questions. Why, for example, does the wealthy house of Holy- 
rood pay but 250 florins, and in one case only 171^ florins? The 
revenue of Holyrood at the dissolution was in money, without counting 
wheat, oats, bear, etc., jr2926. Two or three other perplexing questions 
are presented, but they cannot be considered here. 


religious or secular, should pass from the realm until he 
appeared before his ordinary and then before the chancellor 
of Scotland ' to show to them good and honest cause of 
his passage, and make faith to them that he do no baratry.' 
The act was to apply also to barators who were already 
abroad, of whatever degree, to whom the lieges were for- 
bidden to give help or favour.^ The Act of the Parliament 
of James III. in 1483 complains of the great skaith and 
damage the realm daily sustains from prelates and clerks 
taking money out of the realm for promotions and pleas 
at the court of Rome ; but in this case the objection 
seems to be based less on the ecclesiastical impropriety of 
the purchasing of promotion than on the rooted dislike to 
coin leaving the kingdom. If the clerk's ' finance ' is 
made in merchandise of the realm, and if he establishes 
this fact to the satisfaction of the auditor of the king's 
exchequer, he was not to be interfered with.- The same 
idea underlies the Act of 1496,^ and the Act of James V.'s 
Parliament in 1540.* 

Every Scottish ecclesiastic who desired advancement 
would be wise to have his paid agent at the Roman court. 
The interest of cardinals and of high officials had to be 
secured, and it would be only prudent to supply ample 
funds tor the purpose. 

In June, 1488, John Balfour, Bishop of Brechin, was 
approaching his end. William Meldrum, vicar of Brechin, 
looked with longing eyes to the preferment which would 
obviously soon become vacant. No time was to be lost, 
and not waiting for the decease of his bishop, he conveys 
by his intermediary, Walter Moneypenny, Prior of St. 
Serf's Inch in Loch Leven, 200 lib, of Flemish grossi, 
to Caspar Bonciani, Florentine merchant, for the procure- 
ment of the expedition of his bulls appointing him to the 
see of Brechin on the death or resignation of Balfour, and 
for certain other payments only obscurely hinted at. The 
relative deeds, loaded with legal safeguards, are printed in 

^ Act. Pari. ii. 16. The word ' barator ' or 'barrator' is explained 
by Skene, in his De signtficatione verborum, as one who obtains a benefice 
by simony, or who corrupts a judge by bribes. 

"^ Act. Pari. ii. 166. ^ Act. Pari ii. 237. ^ Ibid. 375. 


the appendix to the Registrum Episcopatus Brechinensis?- 
Bonciani was only a bank-agent, and he received eight 
per cent, for forwarding the money to the papal bankers, 
Philip Strozzi & Co. Meldrum's forethought was 
rewarded : Balfour resigned, and Meldrum was appointed 
to Brechin in January, 1489. 

The bulls of the child-archbishop, Alexander Stewart, 
were paid for by his father, James IV. ; and numerous 
payments in connexion with the bulls are entered in the 
Accounts of the Lord Treasurer. On 22nd Feb., 1503-4, 
the treasurer delivered to the Dean of Moray and Sir 
Thomas Hakirstoun, ' to the finance of the bullis of 
Sanctandrois,' 11 10 gold angels, and two gold chains, 
doubtless intended as ' propines ' to some important 
persons. The value of the mo angels is set down as 
1285 lib. (Scots). And allowances are made for the 
expenses of these agents in passing through England, 
When in the September of the same year messengers 
were despatched to bring the bulls home to Scotland it is 
noted that there was still owing to the foreign banker, 
Jerome Friscobald, the sum of 1365 lib. Flemish. Of this 
1 165 lib, 1 6s. 8d. (represented in Scots money by 3082 lib. 
1 6s.) was paid in one sum, and the balance, apparently, 
in smaller sums,^ Those who are expert at figures and 
the relative values of the various coins in which payment 
is made would probably be able to work out in its minutiae 
the finance of the bulls. It is sufficient for our purpose 
to show in a general way that a very considerable sum 
had to be transferred to Rome. 

The value in exchange of the gold florin of the camera 
towards the close of the fourteenth century was two 
shillings and eightpence or two shillings and ninepence. 
I have not lighted on evidence as to its exchange value in 
the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Assuming it to be 
about the same, though it is possible that it may have 
changed somewhat, we find that the 3300 florins (the taxa 
for St. Andrews) at, say, two and eightpence sterling, give 
us 400 lib. sterling or about 1466 lib. Scots, in the early 

^ Nos. Ixii.-lxiv, 

2 Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer, ii. 243, 244 


part of the sixteenth century. But a much larger sum, as 
has been seen, was spent on ' the finance of the bulls ' 
than what was needed for the commune servitium in the 
case of the young archbishop.^ 

Enough has been said to make it easily understood how 
a poor man might be seriously involved in debt on 
accepting a bishopric. Through the happy accident that 
one of the bishops of Moray was of sufficiently business- 
like habits to keep his acknowledgments for payments 
made by him, we are presented with a picture of the 
troubles brought upon a Scottish bishop of the fourteenth 
century, by the heavy charges of the Roman court on his 
promotion. Alexander Bur, Archdeacon of Moray, was 
advanced to the bishopric in 1362. Two years later his 
fees were not all paid. He had incurred excommunication 
and the guilt of perjury for not having fulfilled his pro- 
missory oath of paying within the prescribed time. But 
on his making a part payment of his commune servitium^ to 
the amount of 553 gold florins 21 shillings and 8 pence, 
and also a part payment for four minuta servitia to the 
amount of 109 florins 8 shillings and 6 pence, he was 
given another year to discharge the rest of the debt, and 
the excommunication was removed,- 

The unfortunate Patrick Graham, Bishop, and after- 
wards Archbishop of St. Andrews (1465-1478), had not 
completed his payments at Rome for his bulls when his 
troubles fell upon him. His enemies in Scotland set the 
Roman officials to press him for the debts due to them ; 
and failing to make satisfaction through circumstances for 
which he was not wholly responsible, he tell under ecclesi- 

^ There is reason to believe that it is not quite superfluous for the 
general reader to know that the appointment of a child to an ecclesiastical 
benefice such as a bishopric did not involve his consecration. Archbishop 
Alexander Stewart's uncle, Archbishop James Stewart, was appointed 
when he was eighteen, but his consecration was not to be till 'the lawful 
age.' He died unconsecratcd six years later. James IV. suggested to the 
Pope the appointment and consecration of a certain Dominican friar 
advanced in years to serve as assistant to his son, the young archbishop 
{Epist. Reg. Scot. i. 4). 

^Reg. Morav. 1 61-164. The term annates {annatae) is sometimes 
applied to this tax. See Ferraris, s.v. 


astical interdict. The unhappy man's mind gave way 
under his accumulated troubles.^ 

Dispensations, Indulgences, etc, — The story common to the 
rest of western Christendom in regard to papal indulgences 
and dispensations may be repeated in respect to Scotland, 
and there is nothing peculiar or characteristic which claims 
special notice. Indeed, except at the celebration of the 
jubilees, the revenues reaching Rome from these sources 
were probably never very great. That the power and 
influence of the papacy was enormously increased by 
these means need not be questioned. And the numerous 
oflicials and the army of clerks engaged in the work of 
the Roman court, doubtless, had their pickings. They 
did work, and it was only right that they should be paid 
for it ; and when a favour was sought, few would be un- 
willing to pay on a somewhat liberal scale. But from 
this source little aid was to be found towards the general 
finance of the papal establishment. 

We have dealt already with dispensations for (i) defect 
of birth and (2) defect of age, both with reference to 
obtaining holy orders and holding benefices. Something 
also has been said of (3) dispensations for holding more 
than one benefice, which resulted in the discreditable 
frequency of pluralists on a large scale. Notice has also 
been taken of (4) dispensations for marriages within the 
forbidden degrees of consanguinity and affinity. It may 
be permitted to give a few specimens of a dispensation, 
license, or indult, as it was sometimes styled, of another 

The rule of the Church was that sacramental confession 
was to be made to the parish priest ; but many persons 
much preferred choosing their own confessor. The per- 
mission to do this could only be obtained from the Pope. 
In the fourteenth century more particularly, (5) license to 
choose a confessor, who should have power to give plenary 
remission at the hour of death, was much sought for as 
well in Scotland as in England. Many ecclesiastics, — 
bishops, abbats, priors, deans, canons, and a few of the 

1 See Buchanan, Historia, lib. xil. cc. 33-35. Buchanan is fuller in his 
treatment of the story of Graham than Lesley or Ferrerius. One 
wonders where he got his information. 


clergy of lower rank, — are found as applying for this 
privilege, and obtaining it.^ Naturally, where money had 
to be expended, the rich and the noble appear much more 
commonly in the records than persons of whom we know 
nothing. Within a few years we find this indult granted 
to King David II. and Queen Joan, Margaret and Matilda, 
the king's sisters, William Ramsay, knight, and his 
spouse, the Earl (Thomas Stewart) and the Countess 
of Angus, William Douglas, Knight of Liddesdale, 
William, Earl of Douglas, and Margaret his wife, and 
occasionally to young Scottish ladies and gentlemen who 
were entitled to style themselves * damsels ' and ' donsels,' 
— the daughters and sons of distinguished families. This 
privilege was a privilege of the well-to-do. 

We may pass over, as of too little importance for 
detailed consideration, various minor indults and dispensa- 
tions which present themselves from time to time in 
record, such as those arising out of the Pope's claim to be 
able to dispense the obligation to compliance with ecclesi- 
astical law, to communicate vows, and to relax the obligation 
of oaths. Vows to take part in the crusades, vows to go 
on pilgrimage, vows to abstain from flesh-meat, and such 
like, when their fulfilment became troublesome, might on 
due application to the Pope be commuted for some com- 
pensation, generally in the shape of money expended upon 
deeds of charity. Other indults from Rome, such as the 
privilege of having a portable altar (a/tare portabile)^' and 
of having mass celebrated before daylight, which were 
sought by great people, lay and ecclesiastical, need only be 
mentioned. But all such privileges involved recourse to 
the Pope, and all involved cost. 

The rule of the Church forbade servile labour on Sundays 

^ The subject of ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the remission of sins, as 
understood in the fourteenth century, and the meaning of 'plenary 
remission ' would involve an inquiry which would exceed our 

2 In the only indult of this kind which I have been so fortunate as to 
see, — granted 17th May, 1483, to William Hay, Earl of Errol, and 
Elizabeth his wife, — the parties are allowed to have a portable altar 
upon which mass and other divine offices may be celebrated by their 
own or another fit priest 'sine juris alieni prcjudicio.' The last clause 
may refer to the parish priest's right to oblations. 


and festivals. The canon law allowed herring-fishing 
on Sundays and all but the greater festivals, on condition 
that a fitting portion [congrua portio) of the catch should 
be given to the Church and the poor. But did this 
apply to salmon-fishing } This was a question upon 
which the faithful in the diocese of Aberdeen were 
particularly interested. Accordingly, application was made 
to Rome; and in 145 1, Pope Nicholas V. granted an 
indult for salmon-fishing on Sundays and festivals during 
the five months when salmon were most plentiful, on con- 
dition that the first salmon should be given to one of the 
neighbouring churches.^ The same Pope, in 1450, at the 
request of Bishop Kennedy, granted an indult to the 
people of the diocese of St. Andrews to use butter and 
milk-foods (lacticinia) in Lent and on fasting days when 
flesh-meat was forbidden, as olive oil was difficult to 
procure and was costly." These are small matters, but 
they illustrate how the influence of the papacy among the 
people could be increased and fortified. It was long 
before they ventured to think that the matter of butter 
and cheese might be settled within the realm of Scotland. 
Confirmations of Ecclesiastical Property. — Another reason 
for frequent recourse to Rome was the desire, so con- 
stantly exhibited in the middle ages, for accumulated 
confirmations of the rights of property. Secular superiors 
are found frequently, as every old charter-chest shows, 
granting confirmations of the grants of predecessors. And 
as each new Pope succeeded to the throne he was besieged 
by applications from the monasteries and other ecclesiastical 
corporations to grant a confirmation of their property, 
rights, and privileges. Of the many bulls and briefs 
addressed to Scotland, a very large proportion consists of 
confirmations. Again, sometimes we find the papal 
confirmation of the appropriation of a parish to a monastery 
or a cathedral, or of the erection of a canonry. Even such 
a privilege as a right-of-way through his property granted 
by a secular lord to ecclesiastics, it was thought necessary, 
or desirable, to have confirmed by a writ from the Bishop 

^ Reg. Ep. Aberdoju i. 256. 

2 The Bull is printed in Regnt. Priorat. S. Andree, 24, 25. 


of Rome/ But the papal appointments to benefices in 
Scotland, even to many of petty value, gave an influence to 
the Pope in the lives of Scottish ecclesiastics which must 
have been very great. Preferment of all kinds was to be 
had by those who either directly or indirectly could succeed 
in finding favour at Rome. 

^ See the confirmation by Pope Lucius III. {Lib. de Melros, 13). 



Abbat, Waltheof, of Melrose, 20 ; 
Jocelin, of Melrose, 20 ; Walter 
Bower, of Inchcolm, 26 ; Nich- 
olas, of Arbroath, 35 ; Gilbert, 
of Glenluce, 39 ; Odo, of Der- 
congal, 39 ; Randolf de Lamb- 
ley, of Arbroath, 48 ; Guido, of 
Lindores, 56. 

Abbats, holding canonries, i"]. 

Abel, dispensation granted to, to 
be ordained priest and elected 
bishop, 1248, 38 ; bishop of St. 
Andrews, 47. 

Aberdeen, Bishops of — 

Thomas Spence, 1474, 1 5 ; Gilbert 
Greenlaw, 30 ; Gilbert Sterline, 
1239, 36 ; postulation of Peter 
de Ramsay, bishop elect of, 
1247, 38; Elphinstone, 38; 
Randolph or Ralph de Lambley, 
1239, 48, 81, 120; Adam of 
Crail, 1207, 49, 50, 128 ; Henry 
le Chen, 1282, 50 ; Alexander 
de Kyninmund, 1376, 93 ; 
Henry de Lichton,(r. 1409, 130; 
Adam de Tynningham, c". 1382, 
166; William Gordon, 1558, 


Aberdeen, erection of the bishopric 
of, 8 ; election of the bishop 
of, 1239, 36 ; canonries of, 63 ; 
stipends of vicars, 66 ; statutes 
of the cathedral of, 74 ; bishop 
of, canon and prebendary, 80 ; 
and the early statutes of, 91 ; 
University of, founded 1495, 
99 ; procurations paid to the 
bishop of, 1275, 120 ; papal 
tax on the see of, 326 ; Cathe- 
dral, a type of cathedral con- 
stitutions, 60 ; library, loi ; 
synodals of, 118 ; deanery, 217. 

Aberdour canonry, 131 8, 63, note. 

Abingdon, military service owed 
by, 158. 

Abraham, bishop of Dunblane, 2 1 2. 

Absence from councils punishable, 

Abuses, Church, complained of, 
c. 1470, 126. 

Acolytes, salary of, 69. 

Act of Parliament. See Parliament. 

Advowson, or right of patronge, 
21 1. 

Affinity, an impediment to matri- 
mony, 259, 291 ; example of, 
292 ; cause of divorce, 293. 

Age, dispensations granted for de- 
fect of, 31, 331 ; canons under, 
85 ; canonical, for a promise of 
marriage, 264. 

Agents, collecting, of Peter's pence, 
321 ; ecclesiastical, for collect- 
ing revenues of the Church, 

Aid, occasional tax paid to the 
bishop, 121 ; or perhaps to 
the king, 202. 

Albany, John, duke of, and Leo X., 


Alberic, Cardinal, at the Carlisle 
Council, 1 1 38, 240. 

Alexander, bishop of Caithness, 
1381, 3'8. 

Alexander HI., King, and the death 
of Richard, bishop of Dunkeld, 
1272, 53 ; and Cardinal Otho- 
bon, 1369, 228. 

Alexander HI., Pope, and the elec- 
tion of John the Scot, 27 ; and 
the tithes, 11 70, 173; and the 
married clergy, 310. 

Alexander IV., Pope, and the Kel- 
edei's right of election, 22 ; and 
the bishop of Dunblane, 1259, 



Alexander VI., Pope, Bull of, 1259, 

Alexis, legate, at the Holyrood 

Council, 1 1 80, 240. 
Alimony, imposed on the husband 

in a case of separation, 290. 
Allowance. See Prebend. 
Alms, lands granted for, 191. 
Almsmen, provision allowed for, in 

Collegiate churches, 106. 
Alpin, bishop of Dunblane, 1296, 

33, 196. 
'Altarage,' explanation of the term, 

Andrew, bishop of Argyll, 1298, 31, 


Andrew, bishop of Caithness, 1184, 

Andrew, bishop of Glasgow, 1473, 

Angus deanery, 216. 

Annandale deanery, 217. 

Annate. .See Fruits. 

'Annuale' of the canons, meaning 
of, 102, 131. 

Anselm, Archbishop, and the in- 
vestiture, c. 1107,44; and the 
celibacy of the clergy, 1107, 

Appeal from excommunication, 

Appointment, of bishops, 45 ; of 
deans and canons, 62 ; of pro- 
curators, 84. 

Aquaebajulus. See Parish Clerks. 

Arbroath, Abbey, 206 ; election of 
theabbat of, 1239,32; Nicholas, 
abbat of, elected bishop of 
Dunblane, 1301,35 ; Randolph 
de Lambley, abbat of, 1239,48. 

Archbishop, Robert Blackadder, of 
Glasgow, 15 ; Scheves, of St. 
Andrews, 16 ; James Beaton, 
of St. Andrews, 17 ; James 
]5eaton, the second, of Glas- 
gow, 1552, 17 ; James Stewart, 
duke of Ross, of St. Andrews, 
30, 51 ; Alexander Stewart, 
of St. Andrews, 31 ; Anselm 
44, 308 ; Boniface, of Canter- 
bury, 50 ; Andrew Korman, 
of .St. Andrews, 51 ; John 
Stratford, of Canterbury, 1342, 
125 ; Langton, 1209, 189 ; 
Roger, of York, 11 64, 240; 
Hamilton, 270 ; Peckham, 302; 
Patrick Graham, of St. An- 
drews, 1465-78, 330. 

Archdeacon, functions and stipend 
of an, 72 ; lawful retinue of an, 
119; duties of an, 213, 218; 
acting as judge, 220. 

Archdeacon, James Bene, of St. 
Andrews, 1328, 26; Ingram de 
Kethenys, of Dunkeld, c. 1380, 
221 ; William Wischard, of St. 
Andrews, 275 ; William de 
Kilkenny, of Coventry, 1253, 
277 ; Alexander Bur, of Moray, 
1362, 330. 

Archdean, origin of the word, 220. 

Archdene, William Scheres, of St. 
Andrews, 1473, 221. 

Ardchattan, 206. 

Argyll, bishopric of, erection of, 8, 
II ; suffragan of Glasgow, 
1492, 16 ; Andrew, bishop of 
1298, 31, 37 ; bishop of, elected 
without the chapter, 1344, 37 ; 
seat of, in Lismore Island, 57 ; 
papal tax on the see of, 326. 

Arran, Earl of, and the rights of 
the Scottish Church, I544> 

Athol deanery, 216. 
Auchterarder, Synod at, 1235, 239. 
Ayr, national assembly at, 131 5, 


Badenoch, the Wolf of. See Alex- 
ander, Earl of Buchan. 

Balfour, John, bishop of Brechin, 
14S8 328. 

Balmerino Abbey, 206. 

Bannatyne Club, publications of, 4. 

Banns of marriage, publication of, 
253, 255. 

Baptism, ceremonies of, 243. 

Baratry, meaning of, 328, note. 

Bath, chapter at, 59 ; military ser- 
vice owed by, 15S. 

Beaton, James, archbishop of St. 
Andrews, 17. 

Beaton, James, the second, arch- 
bishop of Glasgow, 1552, 17. 

Iieauly Abbey, 206. 

Beaumont, Roger de, bishop of 
St. Andrews, 1189, 49, 116; 
dispensation granted to, 128. 

Becket, Thomas, benefices held by, 


Bene, James, archdeacon of St. 
Andrews, 26. 

Benedict XII., Pope, and the elec- 
tion to the bishopric of Argyll, 



Benefices, number of, held by one 
canon, 76 ; diverted from the 
founders' intention, 114; held 
by one priest or even deacon, 
~7Si 279 ; practically heredi- 
tary, 315 ; first fruits of vacant, 
324 ; dispensation for holding 
several, 331. 

Benevolence, occasional tax paid 
to the bishop, 121. 

Bernham, David de, election of, 
1299, 22, 48 ; bishop of St. 
Andrews, 1239, 32 ; and Dry- 
burgh Abbey, 1242, 123; zeal 
of, 139. 

Biggar, last Collegiate church 
founded at, c. 1545, 105. 

Birth, defect of, dispensations 
granted for, 280, 331. 

Bishops, lists of. See under separ- 
ate sees. 

Bishoprics, ancient, 7 ; number of, 
II ; vacancy of, 53. 

Bishops, election of, before the 
Reformation, 18, 20 ; order of 
procedure of the, 23 ; by ' in- 
spiration,' 31; per ' compro- 
missum,' 32 ; per 'scrutinium,' 
34 ; James V. and the election 
of, 1 526, 50; property of, at their 
death, 53; sometimes canons, 
80 ; rivalry of, and canons 
in matters of discipline, 86 ; 
burdens or taxes paid to, 117 ; 
homage paid to the king by, 
191 ; national assembly of, 
1 31 5, 201 ; record of a case 
judged by a court of, 1389, 288. 

Blackadder, Robert, bishop of Glas- 
gow, 1488, 15. 

Bondington, William de, bishop of 
Glasgow, 1223, 49. 

Boniface, archbishop of Canter- 
bury, 50. 

Both well, Collegiate church at, 105. 

Bower, Walter, abbat of Inchcolm, 

Boyne deanery, 217. 

Brechin, bishopric of, erected in 
1150, 8, 236 ; bishops of, Wil- 
liam de Lamberton, 1298, 
34 ; John de Crannock, 1445, 
198 ; John Balfour, 1488, 328 ; 
William Meldrum, vicar of, 
328 ; Pope Gregory IX. and 
the Keledei of, 1250, 55; canon- 
ries of, 64 ; bishop of, a canon 
and prebendary, 80 ; extract 

from the register, 87 ; papal 
tax on the see of, 326. 

Bricius or Brice, bishop of Moray, 
1212, 65 ; foundation by, 87. 

Bridport, Bishop Giles de, con- 
stitutions of, 1256, 187. 

Brief of Pope Clement VI., 1344, 
27 ; of Gregory IX., 90. 

Brown, George, bishop of Dunkeld, 
1483-1515, 216. 

Buchan, Alexander Stewart, Earl of, 
damage caused by, 93 ; burn- 
ing of the cathedral of Elgin, 
139O197 ; and his ill-treatment 
of his wife, the Countess of 
Ross, 288. 

Buchan, Earl of, endowments by, 
1272, 156. 

Buchan deanery, 217 ; synodals of, 

Bull of Pope Innocent IV., 1251, 
158 ; of Pope Alexander VI., 
1259, 196 ; of Pope Gregory 
XL, 1372, 1375, 197 ; papal, 
1225, 229. 

Bull-baiting in the churchyard of 
Kirkcudbright, 1164, 144. 

' Bulls, Finance of the,' 330. 

Burdens, parish, pay.ments made 
to the bishop, 1 17. 

Burial of the dead, statutes con- 
cerning the, 246. 

Bur, Alexander, archdeacon of 
Moray, 1362, 330. 

Butter, tithe of, 162, 167. 

Caithness, bishopric of, erected in, 
1 1 28, 8, II, 236 ; bishop of, 
canon and prebendary, 80, 81 ; 
Pope Nicholas III. and the 
dean of, 1279, 318 ; Alexander, 
bishop of, and Pope Clement 
VII., 1 38 1, 318 ; Andrew, 
bishop of, 1 184, and Peter's 
pence, 321 ; John, bishop of, 
1 1 98, and Peter's pence, 321 ; 
papal tax on the see of, 326. 

Cambuskenneth Abbey, 206 ; Bishop 
Sinclair and the abbat of, 1392, 
208 ; privilege granted to, 279. 

Cameron, John, bishop of Glasgow, 
and the vicars' stipend, 1430, 
65 ; c. 1426, 122 ; statutes of, 
1426- 1446, 78. 

Can, King's, tithe of, 177. 

Candida Casa. See Galloway. 

Cantilupe, Walter de, bishop of 
Worcester, 1240, 316. 



Canon, Walter de Twynam, of Glas- 
gow, 192 ; John Thornton, of 
Glasgow, 1 541, 270 ; David 
Christison, of Glasgow, 271 ; 
George Cook, of Uunkeld, 271 ; 
John de Leys, of Moray, 279 ; 
Alexander Steward, of Moray, 
1351, 279. 

Canonries, number of, attached to 
a cathedral, 59 ; increased 
number and privileges of, 63 ; 
honorary, bestowed on kings 
or children, 85. 

Canons, Austin, of Inchafifray, 10 ; 
of St. Andrews, 206. 

Canons, secular, corporations of, 
58 ; regular, chapters of, 59 ; 
appointment of, 62 ; number of, 
63 ; residence of, 74 ; number 
of benefices held by, 76 ; non- 
residence of, punished at Elgin, 
1488, 79 ; bishops at the same 
time, 80 ; submitted to cathe- 
dral discipline, 86 ; difference 
between regular and secular, 
90; houses of secular, 91 ; 'an- 
nuale' of the, meaning of, 102. 

Canterbury, Lanfranc, archbishop 
of, 12 ; Boniface, archbishop 
of, 50 ; chapter at, 59 ; John 
Stratford, archbishop of, 1342, 
125 ; military service required 
of, 158; provincial constitu- 
tions of, 1305, 171. 

Carlisle, regular chapter at, 59 ; Le- 
gatine Council at, 11 38, 240. 

Carnwath, Collegiate church at, 

Carpentras, William de, nuncio, 
1372, 31^- 

Cariti, l>ertrand, nuncio, and Peter's 
pence, 1329, 322 ; collection of 
first fruits, 1332, 325. 

Carrick deanery, 217. 

Catalogue of the books in the Glas- 
gow library, 1432, 99. 

Cathedrals, causes determining the 
locality of, 55 ; constitutions 
of, in Scotland, 58 ; possessed 
of benefices, 1 13. 

Cathedraticum, tax paid to the 
bishop, 1 17. 

Celibacy of the clergy, Hildebrand 
and, 308. 

Ceremonial of taking possession 
of a church, 141. 

Chancellor, third canon of the 
chapter, duties of a, 61 ; re- 

sponsible for the books in 
cathedral libraries, 102. 

Chaplaincies given to vicars of the 
choir, 67. 

Chaplains, kings', elected bishops, 
48 ; hired for a year, 132. 

Chaplains of the choir, meaning 
of, 68. 

Chapter, no, in Connor diocese, 
139O) 37 ; constitution of a, of 
canons, 58,61 ; of Glasgow, 79 ; 
meetings of the, 82 ; of regular 
canons submitted to the dis- 
cipline of the cathedral, 86 ; 
of Collegiate churches, 106. 

Chapters of cathedral, rights of, 
in electing bishops, 23 ; set at 
nought in theory, 30 ; bishops 
elected without, 36 ; in Eng- 
land, 45 ; secular and regular, 
in England, 59 ; ruri-decanal, 

Charges, official, example of, 325. 

Charter, of David I., c. 1124, 21 ; 
of James II., concerning bishops' 
property and bishoprics' rev- 
enues, 1449, 53 ; foundation of 
Lindores Abbey, 114; of David 
II., 196; quotation from the, 
of James v., 1515 ; concerning 
the private life of priests, 

Chase, tithe on the spoils of, 167. 

Cheese, tithe on, 162, 167, 172. 

Chen, Menry le^ bishop of Aberdeen, 
1282, 50. 

Chester, military service owed by, 

Chichester, secular chapter, 59 ; 
bishop of, canon and prebend- 
ary, 80 ; military service owed 
by, 158. 

Children, holding a benefice, 86 ; 
as rectors, examples of, 128; 
legitimacy of, 266 ; ecclesias- 
tical preferment bestowed on, 
281 ; examples of, 282 ; of 
priests, exhortation of the 
statutes concerning, 312 ; vio- 
lating the statutes with papal 
dispensation, 1550, 314; list 
of papal dispensations granted 
to, 1342, 317. 

Choir, vicars of the. See \'icars. 

Choristers, Boy, duties and salary 
of, 66 ; increase of salary, 69 ; 
number of, 71 ; allowance for, 
in Collegiate churches, 106. 



Chrism-clothes, used in the cere- 
mony of baptism, 142. 

Christison, David, canon of Glas- 
gow, 271. 

Church, provincial synods and the, 
135 ; revenues — first, lands, 155, 
160 ; second, tithes, 162 ; third, 
offerings, 179 ; relations of, 
and state, igi ; freedom of, 

Churches, common, possessed in 
common by the chapter, 60 ; 
Collegiate, 105. 

Churches, parish, in; building of, 
112, 185 ; Pope Lucius III. and 
the parish, 115; farming of 
124 ; scandals connected with 
the farming of, 125 ; to be built 
of stone, 139 ; ceremonial of 
the taking of possession of, 
141 ; forbidden to be used for 
balls, markets and fairs, 144 ; 
1503, 247 ; considered as 
sanctuaries, 145 ; specially 
privileged as sanctuaries, 148 ; 
statutes concerning fugitives 
to, 152. 

Churchyards, regulations concern- 
ing, 143 ; used for markets and 
fairs, 1503, 145- .^47- 

Chyam, John de, bishop of Glas- 
gow, 1259, 325. 

Clement, bishop of Dunkeld, and 
the building of the cathedral, 

Clement III., Pope, and the Scot- 
tish Church, 1 188, 12. 

Clement V., Pope, 1314, and the 
Scotch elections, 29 ; and the 
payment of Peter's pence, 1306, 

Clement VI., exemptions granted 
by, 1343, 16; brief of, 1344, 
37 ; dispensations granted by, 
1343, 283; 1342, 317. 

Clement VII., Anti-Pope, ordi- 
nance of, 1386, 12 ; and the me- 
tropolitan archbishopric, 13; 
grants made by, 96 ; and the 
bishop of Caithness, 1381, 318 ; 
dispensations granted by, 1380, 
319; 1381, 325. 

Clergy, establishment of the parish, 
c. 1097, III ; inferior, present 
at Parliament, 203 ; summoned 
to Parliament, 204 ; forbidden 
to compear in a secular court 
of justice, 209 ; general dis- 

cipline and regulations con- 
cerning the private life of the, 
248 ; Hildebrand and the celi- 
bacy of, 308. 

Clerk, parish, James Sinclair, 134 ; 
William Gordon, 1556, 136; 
Patrick Leyth, 136. 

Clerks, parish, functions of, fif- 
teenth century, 132 ; election 

of, 133- 
Coldingham Abbey, 206. 
Collections for building cathedrals, 

College of vicars of the choir of 

Glasgow, founded by Andrew, 

bishop of Glasgow, 67. 
Collegiate churches, foundation of, 

105 ; honours bestowed on, 106. 
Coldstain canonry, 1424, 64, note. 
Commons, House of, grievance of 

the, against the clergy, 1530, 

Commons, allowance of food granted 

to canons, 60. 
' Commune Servitium,' Tax from 

the, 326 ; revenue of Scotch 

sees, 330. 
Concubines, priests', enactments of 

the councils concerning, 311 ; 

publicity concerning, 316. 
Confession, obligation of, 244. 
Confessor, privilege of choosing a, 


Confirmation, ceremonies of, 243. 

Confirmation, papal, required in a 
bishop's election, 27. 

Congall, Angus, claims of, on the 
bishopric of Argyll, c. 1344, 37. 

Connor, diocese of, no chapter in 
the, 1390, 37. 

Consanguinity, an impediment to 
matrimony, 254 ; degrees of, 
257 ; a cause of divorce, ex- 
amples of, 292, 294. 

Consecration of parish churches, 


Constance, Council of, 1414-15, 29. 

Constitutions of cathedrals in Scot- 
land, 58. 

Constitutions, provincial, of York 
and Canterbury, 171 ; of Bishop 
Giles de Bridport, 1256, 187 ; 
of Archbishop Langton, 1209, 

Cook, George, canon of Dunkeld, 

Corn, tithe on, 162 ; predial teinds 
on, 167. 



Corstorphine, Collegiate church at, 
1 06. 

Council of Constance, 1414-15, 29 ; 
of Lateran, 1179, 115, 118; of 
Westminster, 1200, 119; last 
Scotch, 1550, 129; of Ferns, 
1240, 168 ; of Perth, 1457, 193 ; 
general, 1549, 221 ; fourth, of 
Lateran, 12 15, 228 ; general, 
1420, 236; of Lambeth, 1261, 
303, note; of London, 1108, 
308 ; of London, 1237, 310,316; 
of Westminster, 1 175, 316 ; of 
Oxford, 1222, 316. 

'Council, Great,' at Stirling, 121 1, 

Councils, or synods of the Scottish 
Church, 223. 

Councils, legatine, summoned by 
a legate of the pope, 225 ; 
statutes enacted by, 227 ; Ro- 
bertson's work on, 227 ; list of, 
before 1225, 239. 

Councils, annual provincial, 226 ; 
for correcting the excesses of 
the clergy, 228 ; gathered by 
summons, 230 ; ceremonial of, 
231 ; number of, 234 ; dates 
of, 235 ; statutes of, 242. 

Courts, consistorial, of Scotland, 
289 ; cases brought before, 295. 

Courts, ecclesiastical, of justice, 
285 ; examples of, 286 ; cases 
judged in, 287 ; examples of 
cases judged in, 295 ; the 
probate of wills dealt with in, 

Coventre, Walter de, dean of Aber- 
deen, 1353,279- 

Coventry, chapter at, 59 ; military 
service owed by, 158. 

Crail, Adam of, bishop of Aber- 
deen, 1207, 49, 50; dispensa- 
tion granted to, 128. 

Crail, Collegiate church at, 106. 

Crambeth, Matthew de, bishop of 
Dunkeld, 1288, 33. 

Crannoch, John de, and the cope- 
tax, 87 ; bishop of Brechin, 

1445. '98. 
Crechmont canonry, 1262, 63, note. 
Crichton, Collegiate church at, 106. 
Croft, provided for canons, 91. 
Cross Macduff, in Fife, famous 

sanctuary, i 50. 
Crossraguel Abbey, 206. 
Crawford, F'ergus of, dispensations 

granted to, 1 28. 

Crown, the, and Bishops' property, 

and bishoprics' revenues, 53 ; 

claims of, on deceased bishops' 

estates, 195. 
Crusades, Pope Innocent IV. and 

the, 1247, 322 ; vows to go to, 

Cude, meaning of, 143. 
Culross Abbey, 206. 
Cumyn, William, provost of the 

Keledei, 1297, 22. 
Cunningham deanery, 217. 
Cupar Abbey, 206. 
Cupar Angus, monastery of, 122. 

Dairy produce, tithes on, 170. 

Davach, half a, of land bestowed 
on a parish church, 1 1 1, 155. 

David I., his work of reconstitution 
of the bishopric of Glasgow, 
c. 1 1 15, 8 ; charter granted by 
c. wii,^'i\ ; his grant to Kelso 
Abbey, 1 143, 148 ; his grant of 
'second tithes,' 1136, 175. 

David II.'s grant to Holyrood 
Abbey, 176 ; charter of, 196. 

Dean, first canon of the chapter, 
duties of a, 61 ; appointment of 
a, 62 ; discipline administered 
by the, 86 ; or provost in 
Collegiate churches, 106; law- 
ful retinue of a, 119. 

Dean, rural. See Uean of Chris- 

Dean, Nicholas, of Moray, 1254, 
129 ; Walter de Coventre, ot 
Aberdeen, 1353, 279. 

Dean of Christianity, duties of a, 
213; collecting taxes and alms, 

Deaneries, one or more m each 
diocese, 213 ; of Scotland, 216. 

Deer Abbey, 206. 

Dercongal Abbey, Odo, abbat of, 

1235, 39- 

Desnes deanery, 217. 

Dioceses of Scotland, number of. 2. 

Discant, knowledge of, necessary to 
the clergy, 109. 

Discipline, administered by the 
dean, 86, 88 ; exercised to- 
wards the bishop, 89 ; statutes 
concerning the clergy, 248. 

Discontent of the bishops about 
the metropolitan archbishopric 
of St. Andrews, 14. 

Dispensations, papal, for defect of 
age, 31 ; granted to the Earls 



of March, 108, 128 ; to take 
orders, 129 ; religious, 267 ; 
examples of, 268 ; expense of, 
269 ; canon law and, 273 ; 
numerous, granted for ille- 
gitimacy, 280 ; violating the 
statutes, 314 ; list of, granted 
to sons of priests, 1342, 317 ; a 
source of revenue, 331. 

Dispute concerning the election of 
the bishop of Galloway, 1235, 
39 ; between a bishop and 
chapter, 86 ; between parishes 
concerning tithes, 169 ; con- 
cerning patronage between a 
layman and the clergy, 211. 

Divorce, obtained on the grounds 
of consanguinity, 258 ; meaning 
of, 290 ; case of, 292 ; affinity, 
cause of, 293 ; John Mair's 
opinion on, 294. 

Dress of the clergy, 248. 

Drontheim. See Trondhjem. 

Drumalbane deanery, 216. 

Dryburgh Abbey, 236 ; Bishop 
Bernham and, 123. 

Dulmaok canonry, 1368, 63, note. 

Dumbarton, Collegiate church at, 

Dunbar, Collegiate church at, 105. 

Dunbar, Patrick, Earl of, placed 
under interdict, 1208, 210. 

Dunblane, bishopric of, ancient, 
7; erected in, 1150,8; Earls 
of Strathern and the, 10 ; 
suffragan of Glasgow, 1492, 
16 ; Alpin, bishop of, 1296, 
33, 196; Nicholas, abbat of 
Arbroath, bishop of, 1301, 35 ; 
state of the, 1235, 89; Robert 
de la Provendir, bishop of, 
199 ; Abraham, bishop of, 212 ; 
Walter, bishop of, 1361, 279 ; 
Maurice, bishop of, 1322, 284 ; 
William Stephenson, bishop of, 
1420, 299 ; Robert, bishop of, 
1259, 324; papal tax on the, 

Duncan, Lord of Carrick, payment 
of his tithes, 1225, 165. 

Dundrennan Abbey, 206. 

Dunfermline Abbey, 206 ; sanctu- 
ary, 151 ; privilege granted to, 

Dunkeld, bishopric of, 7 ; con- 
stituted in twelfth century, 8 ; 
suffragan of Glasgow, 1492, 16; 
Matthew de Crambeth, bishop 

of, 1288, 33 ; postulation of 
Geoffrey, bishop of, 1236, 38 ; 
John the Scot, bishop of, 46 ; 
Richard, bishop of, 1169, 48; 
death of Richard, bishop of, 
1272, 53 ; new cathedral of, 
built by Bishop Clement, 90 ; 
Robert Sinclair, bishop of, 
1394, 119, 208; Richard of 
Inverkeithing, bishop of, 199 ; 
George Brown, bishop of, 
1483-1515, 216; Ingram de 
Kethenys, archdeacon of, c. 
1380, 221 ; George Cook, 
canon of, 271 ; Richard de 
Pilmor, bishop of, 1343, 283 ; 
papal tax on, 326. 
Durham, Thomas de Hatfield, 
bishop of, 16 ; chapter at, 
59 ; military service owed by, 

Eadmer, election of, 19 ; bishop of 
St. Andrews and the investi- 
ture, 43. 

Edinburgh Castle, legatine council 
at, 1 1 77, 240. 

Ednam, church, first parish church, 
c. 1097, III. 

Eggs, tithe on, 167, 171. 

Election of bishops before the 
Reformation, 18, 20; order of 
procedure of the, 23 ; by 'in- 
spiration,' 31 ; 'per compro- 
missum,' 32 ; 'per scrutinium,' 
34 ; of the bishop of Galloway, 
i?35> 39 ; royal share in, 45 ; 
king's consent necessary to, 
48 ; capitular, 52 ; of parish 
clerks, 133 ; in i486, 134. 

Elgin, Spyny see transferred to, 
1224, 57 ; parishes granted 
to, ' ad luminaria,' 60 ; non- 
residence of the canons of, 
1488, 79 ; bishop of, canon and 
prebendary, 80 ; burning of 
the cathedral of, 1390, 97. 

Elgin deanery, 217. 

Ellon canonry, 1328, 63, note. 

Elphinstone, bishop of Aberdeen, 

Ely, chapter at, 59 ; military service 
owed by, 158. 

Endowments made by canons, 93 ; 
by William Myrton, 108 ; 
diverted, 114; made to the 
Church, 155, 160 ; by the Earl 
of Buchan, 1272, 156. 



Engelram, bishop of Glasgow, 
1 164, 48. 

Estaitis, Satyre of the t/trie, by Sir 
David Lindesay, 188, 302, 314. 

Estate, movable, of deceased 
bishops, 195. 

Estate, First, in Scotland, 200. 

Estates, meeting of the three, in 
Scotland, 131 5, 201. 

Eucharist, council regulations con- 
cerning the, 244. 

Eugenius III., Pope, and the 
Keledei, 1 147, 22. 

Executors of wills, 301 ; monastic 
orders forbidden to act as, 
302 ; chosen among family and 
friends, 303. 

Excommunication, text ot, 164 ; for 
non-payment of tithes, 166 ; 
text of general, 231 ; of William 
Fenton, 1280, 235, 249; ex- 
amples of, consequences of, 
305 ; incurred through delay in 
paying papal tax, 330. 

Exemptions from tithes, 174. 

Exeter, secular chapter at, 59. 

Fabrics, church, 76 ; building and 

upkeep of, 95. 
Fairs, held in churches, 1503, 145 ; 

and on holy-days, 247. 
Faith of the Church, teaching of, 


Farming of churches, 124; scandals 
connected with, 125. 

Fames deanery, 217. 

Fenton, William, Lord of Beaufort, 
excommunicated in a pro- 
vincial council, 1280, 235, 249. 

Fergus, Lord of Galloway and the 
bishopric of Galloway, 8. 

Feme Abbey, 206, 

Ferns (Ireland), council of, 1240, 

Fife deanery, 216. 

Fines imposed on canons for non- 
residence, 75, 79 ; for neglect 
of duty, 84 ; scale of, for 
striking men in sanctuary, 
1 54, note ; for violation of 
statutes, 313. 

Finhaven, canonries at, 1474, 64. 

Fishing, tithes paid for, 167, 170. 

Fishing on Sundays, 333. 

Flax, predial teinds on, 167 ; tithe 
on, 174. 

Florence, bishop of Glasgow, 49. 

Foals, tithe on, 172. 

Fonts in parish churches, regula- 
tions concerning, 140 ; to be 
found only in parish churches, 

Forbes canonry, 1325, 63, note. 
Forman, Andrew, bishop of Moray, 

16; archbishop of St. Andrews, 

Foreigners benefited by the papal 

reservations, 274 ; in Scottish 

benefices, 276. 
Formaline deanery, 217. 
Fothad, last Celtic bishop of St. 

Andrews, 7. 
Fothrik deanery, 216. 
Forth, deanery south of the, 216. 
Fowls, tithe on, 167. 
Frankalmoigne, holdings in, 156. 
Freedom of the Church, 194. 
Freeman, E. A., quotation from, 

Fruits, first of, vacant benefices, 

Fugitives, right of sanctuary 
afforded to, in parish churches, 
145 ; statutes concerning, 153 ; 
protection afforded to, in 
sanctuary, 154, note. 

Furniture of the prebendal houses, 

Futhnewyn. See Finhaven. 

Fyvie Abbey, 206. 

Galloway, bishopric of, revived by 
Fergus, Lord of Galloway, 8 ; 
reconstitution of, 8, 9; position 
of the, 13 ; and the provincial 
synod of, 1420, 14 ; suffragan 
of Glasgow, 1492, 16 ; dispute 
concerning the election of 
Gilbert, bishop of, 39 ; papal 
tax on the, 326. 

Ganielin, bishop of St. Andrews, 
election of, 1254, 22, 38, 49, 

Gardens, predial teinds on, 167. 

Garbal, tithes, 65, 162. 

Garioch deanery, 217. 

Gask, synod held at, 1239, 239. 

Geoffrey, postulation of, bishop 
elect of Dunkeld, 1236, 38- 

Gififard, marriage of Hugh, aged 9, 

Gilbert, bishop of Galloway, 1235, 

39- . . „ 

Girth, sanctuary limits, 148 ; 

masters of, 153. 
Goveryn. See Gowrie. 



Glasgow, bishopric of, reconstitu- 
tion of, 1 1 15, 8 ; Robert ]51ack- 
adder, bishop of, 1488, 15 ; 
erected into an archbishopric 
with metropoHtan rights, 1492, 
16 ; James Beaton the second, 
archbishop of, 1552, 17 ; Joce- 
Hn, bishop of, 1174, 20, 46; 
Walter, bishop of, 12 19, 47, 49, 
1 18, 240 ; Engelram, bishop of, 
1 164, 48; William de Mal- 
voisine, bishop of, 1199, 49, 
50 ; Florence, bishop of, 49 ; 
William de Bondington, bishop 
of, 1223, 49 ; canonries of, 64, 
65 ; Andrew, bishop of, 1473, 
67 ; statutes of the cathedral 
of, ']'] ; chapter of, 79 ; houses 
of the canons of, 1256, 92 ; 
cathedral library, 1432, 99 ; 
University of, founded 1450, 
99 ; the canons of, and the 
'annuale,' 104 ; eighth penny 
paid to, 176 ; John, bishop of, 
1322, 192; John de Lindsay, 
bishop of, 192 ; archdeacon 
of, 213 ; John, bishop of, 
1 138, 240; John Thornton, 
canon of, 270; David Chris- 
tison, canon of, 271 ; John de 
Chyam, bishop of, 1259, 325 ; 
papal tax on the, 326 ; John 
Laing, bishop of, 1473, 327. 

Glassary deanery, 217. 

Glastonbury, military service owed 
by, 158. 

Glenbervie, canonries at, 1474, 64. 

Glenken deanery, 217. 

Glenluce Abbey, 206; Gilbert, abbat 

of, 1235, 39- 

Goats, tithe on, 167. 

Goods, division of the movable, of 
a deceased, 300. 

Gordon, William, parish clerk, 1 556, 

Gordon, William, bishop of Aber- 
deen, 1558, 314. 

Gowrie deanery, 216. 

Grosseteste, bishop of Lincoln, 
1253, 277._ 

Graham, Patrick, bishop of St. 
Andrews, and the metropolitan 
archbishopric, 1466, 13 ; com- 
plaints of, 1470, 119; money 
troubles of, 330. 

Grants, to the chaplains of the 
choir by Robert de Hyll, 1447, 
67 ; to the vicars, 71 ; by Th. 

Randolf, Earl of Moray, 73 ; 
by Sir Alan de Lascelles, 95 ; 
by Pope Clement VII., 96 ; by 
bishops, 120; by David I., to 
Kelso Abbey, 148 ; by the Earl 
of Buchan, 1272, 156; by 
Robert I., 158; by King David, 
1 136, 175 ; by David II., 176; 
by Moregrund, Earl of Mar, 
177; by King William, 178; 
by Richard, bishop of St. An- 
drews, 1 163, 181. 

Greenlaw, Gilbert, bishop of Aber- 
deen, 30. 

Gregory VII. See Hildebrand. 

Gregory, Pope, letter from, 44. 

Gregory, bishop of Rosemarkin, 45. 

Gregory IX., Pope, and the Keledei, 
1250, 55 ; brief of, 90. 

Gregory X., Pope, letter from, 1273, 

Gregory XI., Pope, bulls of, 1372, 
1375, 197 ; dispensation grant- 
ed by, 1372, 318 ; and the 
papal tenth, 1372, 323. 

Guido, abbat of Lindores, 56. 

Hallam, Henry, quotation from, on 

sancturies, 151. 
Hamburg, archbishopric of, and 

the Orkneys and Sudreys, 9. 
Hatfield, Thomas de, bishop of 

Durham, 16. 
Hawking, tithe on, 167. 
Hay, predial teinds on, 167 ; tithe 

on, 173. 
Henry, postulated bishop of Orkney, 


Henry II., King, and the celibacy 
of the clergy, 308. 

Henry VIII. and the exactions of 
the clergy, 1530, 190. 

Hereford, secular chapter at, 59 ; 
military service owed by, 158. 

Herezeld, a tax, 187. 

Hildebrand, and the investiture, 
43 ; and the celibacy of the 
clergy, 308. 

Holy-days, in relation to labour, 

Holyrood, foundation charter of, 
1 1 54, 21 ; parish churches be- 
longing to, 114; used as a 
sanctuary, 147 ; legatine council 
at, 1 1 80, 240. 

Holyrood Abbey, 206 ; privileges 
of, 176. 

Holywood Abbey, 206. 



Homage paid to the king by the 
bishop, 191. 

Honorius III., Pope, and the 
synodals, 117. 

Hospitality to bishops, 119, 249. 

Hospitia, meaning of, 119. 

Hosting, meaning of, 156. 

Horses, tithe on, 167. 

Hours, singing of the canonical, 62. 

Houses, provided for the vicars of 
the choir, 71 ; for secular 
canons, 91 ; cost of, 92 ; en- 
forced building of, 94 ; pro- 
vided for prebendaries in Col- 
legiate churches, log. 

Howselle, commonly Housel, the 
act of receiving the Eucharist, 

Hugh, bishop of St. Andrews, 46. 

Hyll, Robert of, grant by, 1447, 67. 

Illegitimacy, impediments caused 
by, 266 ; impediment to ad- 
mission to Orders, 280. 

Immunity of churches, 145. 

Impediments to the election of a 
bishop, 25 ; to matrimony, con- 
sanguinity, 254, 257 ; affinity, 
259 ; e.xamples of spiritual 
relationship, 260. 

Imprisonment, secular, a punish- 
ment for excommunication, 306. 

Inchaffray Abbey, 206 ; Austin 
canons of, and the Earl of 
Strathern, c. wji, 10. 

Inchcolm Abbey, 206 ; Walter 
Bower, abbat of, 26. 

Inchmahome Abbey, 206. 

Indulgences, papal, 331. 

Indult, granted to Scotland, 51 ; 
to Robert, bishop of Dun- 
blane, 1259, 324 ; examples of, 
granted, 332. 

Inheritance, Act of Parliament 
concerning, i 540, 304. 

Innes, Cosmo, quotation from, 4. 

Innocent III., Pope, and the con- 
dition of the parish vicars, 115 
(1207), and the fourth Lateran 
council, 121 5, 228 ; and Peter's 
pence, 1 198, 321. 

Innocent IV., Pope, bull of, 1251, 
158 ; mandate of, 1251 ; con- 
cerning tithes, 174; and the 
Crusades, 1247, 322 

Interdict, Scotland put under, 1 178, 
46 ; Patrick, Earl of Dunbar 
placed under, 1208, 210. 

Intestacy, law in cases of, 301. 
Inverness deanery, 217. 
Inverkeithing, Richard of, bishop 

of Dunkeld, 199. 
Invernochty canonry, 1356,63, note. 
Investiture, meaning of, 42. 
Isles, the, papal ta.\ on the see of, 

Italians in Scottish benefices, 1247, 


James, canon of St. Victor, Paris, 
at the Perth council, 1221, 241. 

James I., parliament of, 1424, 195. 

James II. and James IV., canons of 
Glasgow, 85 ; parliament of 
1449, 222. 

James III. and the Apostolic See, 
52 ; decision of 14S1, 194. 

James V. and the choice of bishops, 
1526, 50 ; and the exactions of 
the clergy, 1535, 190; quotation 
from his charter of, 1515, 312. 

Jedburgh Abbey, 206. 

Jocalia, church-plate, 99. 

Jocelin, abbat of Melrose, 1174, 20; 
bishop of Glasgow, 46 ; and 
the vacancies of parish chur- 
ches, 1 15. 

John, bishop of Dunkeld, and the 
bishopric of Argyll, 8. 

John, King, and the married clergy, 

John XXII., Pope, exemptions 
granted by, 1331, 16; his usurp- 
ation of the right to choose 
bishops, 1316, 29; claims of, 
1322, 192 ; and the papal tenth, 
323 ; and the first fruits, 1332, 

John the Scot, election of, 27 ; 

bishop of Dunkeld, 46 ; bishop 

of St. Andrews, 1180, 240. 
John, bishop of Moray, 1350, T}i- 
John, bishop of Glasgow, 1322, 192. 
John, Cardinal, at the Roxburgh 

council, 1125, 240. 
John of Salerno, Cardinal, at the 

Perth council, 1201, 240. 
John, bishop of Glasgow, 1 138, 240. 
John, bishop of Caithness, 1 198, 321. 
Judges, ecclesiastical, 209. 
Jurisdictions, civil and ecclesiastical, 


Keledei, community of, share of, 
in electing the bishops of St. 
Andrews, 21 ; William Cumyn, 



provost of the, 1297, 22 ; Pope 
Gregory IX. and the, 1250, 55. 

Kelso Abbey, 206; parish churches 
belonging, to, 1 14 ; grant made 
to, by Uavid I., 1143, 14S. 

Kennedy, bishop of St. Andrews, 
elected by ' inspiration,' 30 ; 
and ecclesiastical discipline, 86. 

Kilkenny, William de, archdeacon 
of Coventry, 1253, 277. 

Kilmun, Collegiate church at, 106. 

Kincardine canonry, 1330, 63, note. 

Kine, tithe of, 162 ; predial teinds 
on, 167. 

Kinnemund, Thomas de, dispensa- 
tions granted to, 1344, 317. 

Kings, share of the, in the elec- 
tion of bishops, 45, 47 ; consent 
of, necessary to the bishop's 
election, 48. 

Kings, foreign, canons in several 
of their cathedrals, 85. 

King's rights in Church matters, 

Kinkel canonry, 1420, 64, note. 

Kinloss Abl^ey, 206. 

Kilwinning Abbey, 206. 

Kirkcudbright, bull-baiting in the 
churchyard of, 1164, 144. 

Kyle deanery, 217. 

Kylrimont. See St. Andrews. 

Kyninmund, Alexander de, bishop 
of Aberdeen, 1376, 93. 

Kyntire deanery, 217. 

Labour, holy-days in relation to, 

Laing, John, bishop of Glasgow, 

I473> ^-^1- 
Laity and ecclesiastical discipline, 

Lamberton, William de, bishop of 

Brechin, 1298, 34. 
Lambeth, council of, 1261, 303, 

Lambley, Randolf or Ralph de, 

bishop of Aberdeen, 1239, 48 ; 

bishop and canon of Aberdeen, 

1243, 81 ; grants of, 120. 
Lanark deanery, 217. 
Lanark, one dean of Christianity at, 

and at Peebles, 218. 
Land, Holy, money collected for the 

relief of, 1261, 321, 322. 
Lands held by the Church, 155 ; 

farming of, 160. 
Lanfranc,archbishop of Canterbury, 

Langton, archbishop. Constitutions 

of, 1209, 189. 
Lascelles, Sir Alan de, grant made 

by, 95- 

Lateran, general council of, 11 79; 
decree of, 1 1 5, 1 18, 1 19 ; fourth, 
attendance to, and enactments 
of, 121 5, 228; about matri- 
mony, 253. 

Law, canon and civil, knowledge 
of, useful to ecclesiastics, 102; 
and the right of sanctuary, 152; 
delays of the, abridged by Act 
of Parliament, 1427,206; mar- 
riage, in Scotland, 251 ; canon 
and papal dispensations, 272. 

Legitimacy of children, 266 ; some- 
times affected by divorce, 295. 

Lennox deanery, 217. 

Lepers, Act of Parliament concern- 
ing, 1428, 216. 

Leo X., Pope, and the see of St. 
Andrews, 51. 

Lesmahago church, Celtic found- 
ation, 148. 

Lethnot, canonries at, 13S4, 64. 

Leyth, Patrick, parish clerk, 136. 

Libraries, cathedral, 99. 

Lichfield, secular chapter at, 59 ; 
bishop of, canon and prebend- 
ary, 80. 

Lichton, Henry de, bishop of Moray 
and of Aberdeen, c. 1409, 130. 

Lincluden, Collegiate church at, 106. 

Lincoln, constitution of the cathe- 
dral of, 1 212, 56, 65 ; secular 
chapter at, 59 ; bishop of, 
canon and prebendary, 80 %. 
military service owed by, 158; 
Grosseteste, bishop of, 1253, 

Lindsay, John de, bishop of Glas- 
gow, 192. 

Lindesay, Sir David, his Satyre of 
the thrie Estaitzs, quotation 
from, 188, 302. 

Lindores Abbey, 206 ; Guido, abbat 
of, 56 ; foundation charter of, 

Linlithgow deanery, 217. 

Lismore, seat of the bishop of 
Argyll, 57. 

Loan, raising a, on church revenues, 
examples of, 283. 

London, secular chapter in, 59 ; 
military service owed by, 158 ; 
council of, 1 108, 308 ; council 
of, 1237,310, 316. 



Lorn deanery, 217. 

Lothian, archdeacon of, 213 ; dean- 
ery of, 217 ; archdeaconry of, 

Lucius III., Pope, disputed bishop's 
elections and, 46 ; and the 
parish churches, 115. 

Lummey canonry, 1314, 63, note. 

Lyndesay. See Lindesay. 

Maintenance of vicars, 116. 

Mair, John, his opinion of divorce, 

. "94- 

Maitland Ckib, pubHcations of, 4. 

Majority, date of, 304. 

Malcolm, the Maiden, and the arch- 
bishopric of Scotland, 12 ; 
legend about, 149. 

Malvoisine, William de, bishop of 
St. Andrews, 1202, 46, 49; 
bishop of Glasgow, 1199, 50; 
and the parish priests, 1207, 
115; grants of, 1202, 120; 
legatine powers granted to, 
1212, 240. 

Man, Isle of, and the bishop's see, 

Manse built by John Spalding, 93. 

Manses built in the thirteenth cen- 
tury, 130; repairing of, 131. 

Mansel, John, number of benefices 
held by, 275. 

Mar, Moregrund, Earl of, grant by, 

Mar deanery, 217 ; synodals of, 

March, Earl of, dispensation 
granted to the son of, 108 ; 
dispensation granted to, for 
Fergus of Crawford, 128. 

Margaret, queen of James IV., 
marriages and divorces of, 292. 

Market-days and holy-days, 247. 

Markets held in churches, 1503, 
145, 247. 

Marriages, validity of irregular, 251; 
Church statutes concerning the 
publicity of, 253 ; clandestine, 
liable to canonical penalties, 
256 ; impediments to, 257 ; 
early, 264 ; not dissolved even 
by divorce, 290 ; validity of, 
291 ; in the clergy, 308, for- 
bidden, 310; dispensation for, 

Martin, and the bishopric of Argyll, 

c. 1344, 37. 
Mary of Gucldres, Queen, foundress 

of Trinity College, 1462, 106 ; 
rules of, for Trinity College, 
no; and the celibacy of the 
clergy, 311. 

Maurice, bishop of Dunblane, 1322, 

May, Isle of, 206. 

Maybole, Collegiate church at, 106. 

Mearns deanery, 216. 

Meetings of chapters, 82. 

Meldrum, William, vicar of Brechin, 
simony of, 1488, 328. 

Melrose Abbey, 206 ; Waltheof, 
abbat of, 11 58, 20; Jocelin, 
abbat of, 1174, 20; the abbat 
of, and the sanctuary of Wedale, 


Merse deanery, 217. 

Merton, assize of, 1235, 266. 

Methlack canonry, 1362, 63, note. 

Metropolitan, want of a, bishop in 
Scotland, 1 1 ; Walter Trail, 
bishop of St. Andrews, first, 
1386, 12 ; Patrick Graham, 
archbishop, 13 ; consequences 
of the, system, 17; James 
Stewart, duke of Ross, elected, 
1497, 30; first in Scotland, 
1472, 224. 

Milk, tithe on, 162, 167, 171. 

Mills, tithe on, 173. 

' Minutum Servitium,' papal tax, on 
the bishop's election, 327. 

Monasteries, number and wealth of, 
2 ; holders of parish churches, 
113; grasping spirit of, 116; 
list of, 206. 

Money, collected at Whitherne, 
1 261, 321 ; paid in Scotland 
for the papal taxes, 323. 

Monymusk Abbey, 206. 

Monymusk canonry, 1425, 64, note. 

Moravia, Andrew of, bishop of 
Moray, 1222, 45, 81. 

Moray, bishopric of, 11, 49; con- 
stituted in twelfth century, 8 ; 
bishops of, Andrew P"orman, 
16; David, 1299,34; Andrew 
of Moravia, 1222, 45. 81 ; 
Richard, 11S9, 49; liricius, 
65 ; John, 1350, 73 ; Henry de 
Lichton, c. 1409, 130; Alex- 
ander Bur, 1362, 330; canon- 
ries of, 64 ; bishop of, canon 
and prebendary, 80 ; Bishop 
Brice and the foundation of 
the, 87 ; canons of, and the 
'Annuale,' 104 ; procurations 



paid to the bishop of, four- 
teenth century, 120; Nicholas, 
dean of, 1254, 129; privilege 
granted to, 1259, 278 ; Johnde 
Leys, canon of, 1331, 279 ; 
Alexander Steward, 1351, 279 ; 
papal tax on the, 326 ; Alex- 
ander Bur, archdeacon of, 1362, 

Moray, Earl of. See Randolf 
Morthlack, ancient bishopric, 7 ; 

tradition of a see at, 57. 
Mortuary, obligatory gift made to 

the Church, 186. 
Movern deanery, 217. 
Moyne, Robert, parish rector, not 

in Orders, 129. 
Mulcting. See Fines. 
Mull, dean of, 218. 
Mure, Elizabeth, early marriage of, 

MussellDurgh, synod at, 1242, 239. 
Myrton, William, endowments lay, 


New Abbey, 206. 

Newbottle Abbey, 206. 

Nicholas III., Pope, and the dean 
of Caithness, 1279, 318. 

Nicholas V., Pope, and the repair- 
ing of the Glasgow Cathedral, 

1450, 96 ; indult granted by, 

1451, 333- 

Nicholas, abbat of Arbroath, bishop 

of Dunblane, 1301, 35. 
Nicholas, dean of Moray, 1254, 129. 
Nithsdale deanery, 217. 
Non-residence of canons, 76 ; 

punished at Elgin, 1488, 79. 
Norham, legatine council at, 1164, 

Northampton, legatine council at, 

Norwich, military service owed by, 


Obedience, prescribed to the clergy, 

Oblations, meaning of, 180. 
Obventions, meaning of, 180. 
Offerings made to the Church, 179; 

royal, 182 ; scandals connected 

with, 183. 
Official, judge at an ecclesiastical 

court, 288. 
Opposition put by the Pope to the 

king's wishes in ecclesiastical 

matters, 46. 

Orders, Holy, 246 ; conferred on 
bishops elect after their election 
in medieval times, 50 ; Scotch 
council and the dispensations 
concerning, 1550, 129; con- 
ferred on a Saturday only, 228; 
illegitimacy, an impediment to 
admission to, 280. 

Orders, monastic, prevented from 
acting as executors of wills, 
302. See also Monasteries. 

Organisation, diocesan, 213. 

Organisations of cathedrals in 
Scotland, 58. 

Orkney, Henry, postulated bishop 
of, 1247, 38 ; bishop's seat in, 
58 ; William, bishop of, 1326, 
321 ; papal tax on the see of, 

Orkneys, diocese of the, 9. 

Ornaments of the cathedrals, up- 
keep of, 98; of parish churches, 


Otho, Cardinal, Pope's legate, at the 
council of London, 1237, 310. 

Othobon, Cardinal, and King Alex- 
ander III., 1269, 228: dis- 
pensation granted by, 1265, 

Oxford, council of, 1222, 316. 

Paisley, monastery of, parish chur- 
ches belonging to, 1265, 114 ; 
resistance of, to the bishop of 
Glasgow, 1 19. 

Paisley Abbey, 206. 

Parliament of Scotland, 147 1, Act 
of the, concerning the Church, 
126; concerning sanctuary, 
1469, 153 ; concerning tithes, 
1424, 173 ; of James III., 1481, 
194; of James I., 1424, 195; 
of Robert III., 1398, 202; 
inferior clergy present at, 203 ; 
at Scone, 1367, 203 ; at Perth, 
1368, 204 ; composition of the, 
of 1467, 205 ; Act of, to reduce 
the law's delays, 1427, 206 ; 
concerning lepers, 1428, 216; of 
James II., 1449, 222 ; of 1503, 
forbidding markets and fairs 
to be held in churches and 
churchyards, 247 ; concerning 
inheritance, 1540, 304; con- 
cerning ecclesiastical sentences 
1449, 306 ; complaining of 
papal tithes, 1483, 1496, 1540, 



Parishes, origin of, in ; granted to 
monasteries, 113; disputes be- 
tween, concerning tithes, 169 ; 
number of, in a deanery, 218. 

Pascal II., Pope, and the cehbacy 
of the clergy, 1107, 308. 

Pastures, tithe on, 174. 

Patronage of the Collegiate chur- 
ches, retained by the founders, 
107; lay, III; dispute be- 
tween a layman and the clergy 
concerning, 211. 

Payment of tithes, 163 ; civil autho- 
rity and the, 164. 

Peat, tithe on, 167. 

Peebles, deanery of, 217 ; one dean 
of Christianity for Lanark and, 

Penitentiary, a priest chosen for the 
confessions of the clergy, 215. 

Penny, eighth. See Tithes. 

Pension, vicars' stipend, 65, 122. 

People, share of the, in electing 
bishops, 19 ; vote of the, in 
bishops' election, 20 ; in parish 
clerks' election, 133. 

Perry, Archdeacon, quotation from, 

Perth, provincial council at, 1457, 
193 ; parliaments at, 1368, 
1369,204; legatine councils at, 
1201, 1212, 240; 1221, 241. 

Peter's pence, tax of one penny a 
head yearly, 320 ; general re- 
luctance to pay, 321. 

Peterborough, military service owed 
by, 158. 

Petrileonis, Huggucio, Cardinal, at 
the Northampton council, 

Pigeons, tithe on, 167. 

Pilmor, Richard de, bishop of Dun- 
keld, 1343, 2S3. 

Pittenweem, 206. 

Plague in Scotland, 1456, 206. 

Plain-song, knowledge of, necessary 
to vicars of the choir, 70 ; 
taught in Collegiate churches, 

'Plebania,' explanation of the word, 

Ploughgate of land, endowment 
bestowed on a parish church, 
c. 1097, 111,155. 

Pluscardin Abbey, 206. 

Poore, Richard, bishop of Salisbury, 
1223, 144. 

Pope, interference of the, in Scot- 

tish Church matters, 26, 27 ; 
opposition put by the, to the 
king's wishes, 46 ; interference 
of the, strongly resented in 
Scotland, 51. 

Portmoak Abbey, 206. 

Postulations for a bishopric, ex- 
planation of, 25 ; examples of, 

Praemunientes clause, 204. 

Prebend of a chapter, 59 ; nature 
of, 89. 

Precentor, second canon of the 
chapter, duties of, 61. 

Prelate, meaning of, 15, note. 

Prendergast, flight of, to Holyrood 
Abbey for protection, 147. 

Pricket-song, knowledge of, neces- 
sary to the clergy, 109. 

Prison, bishops', for convicted 
clerks, 209. 

Privilege of choosing a confessor. 

Procurations, tax paid to the bishop, 
118; paid to the bishop of 
Aberdeen, 1275, 120. 

Procurators, appointment of, 84. 

Promise of marriage, constituting 
a valid marriage, text of a, 

Property of bishops reverting to 
the Ctown, 53 ; of the Church, 
value of, 322 ; confirmation of, 


Protection afforded to criminals in 
parish churches, 145 ; period 
of, 146; statutes concerning, 

Provendir, Robert de la, bishop of 
Dunblane, 199. 

' Provision,' papal, grievance of, 26, 
29; abusive use of, 51 ; bene- 
fices claimed by the Pope, 
1322, 192. 

Provisors, terms of the statute of, 

Provost, or head of a Collegiate 
church, 106. 

Punishment, corporal, inflicted on 
vicars-choral, 84. 

Quency, Saer de, dispute of, with 
the canons of St. Andrews, 
concerning patronage, 211. 

Quercu, Raymund de, nuncio, and 
the payment of Peter's pence, 
1329, 322. 

' Quot,' money, 304. 



Ramsay, Peter de, postulation of, 
bishop elect of Aberdeen, 1247, 
38 ; statutes of, 91. 

Randolf, Thomas, earl of Moray, 
grant made by, 73. 

Ralph or Randolf. See Lambley. 

Rectors, functions of, 113 ; division 
of parochial revenues between, 
and vicars, 121 ; sometimes 
not in Holy Orders, 127. 

Reforms of Church abuses enacted 
by Parliament, 1471, 126. 

Regulations for the election of a 
bishop, 23, 35. 

Reinald, bishop of Rosemarkin, 45. 

Relationship, spiritual, impediment 
to matrimony, 244 ; examples 
of, 260. 

Relations of Church and State, 191. 

Reservations, papal, system of, 273. 

Residence, length of, required of 
the dean or chapter, 74 ; per- 
sonal, obligatory at Trinity 
College church, no. 

Restalrig, Collegiate church at, 
106 ; erected in 1487, 311. 

Restinot Abbey, 206. 

Revenues, division of parochial, 
between rectors and vicars, 
121 ; unequal proportion of, 

Revenues of the Church — first, 
lands, 155, 160 ; second, tithes, 
162 ; third, offerings, 179. 

Richard, bishop of St. Andrews, 
1 163, 48 ; grant of, 181. 

Richard, bishop of Dunkeld, 1169, 

Richard, bishop of Dunkeld, death 
of, in 1272, 53. 

Richard, bishop of Moray, 1187, 


Riddell, John, and the women's 
suffrage in Church matters, 133. 

Rights, civil, lost through excom- 
munication, examples of, 307. 

Rights of the Scottish Church, Earl 
of Arran on the, 1544, 51. 

Rinnes deanery, 217. 

Robert I., grant by, 158 ; and the 
Pope, 192; national assembly 
called together by, 131 5, 201, 

Robert II., statutes of, 1371, 153; 
homage paid to, 192. 

Robert 1 1 1., and the Earl of Buchan, 
97 ; parliament of, 1398, 202. 

Robert, bishop of Dunblane, 1259, 

Robert, bishop of Ross, 1213, 49. 
Robert, bishop of Ross, 1227, 81; 
Robert, bishop of St. Andrews, 

1 1 58, 20. 
Robertson, Joseph, his work on 

councils, 227. 
Rochester, chapter at, 59. 
Roger, archbishop of York at the 

Norham council, 1 164, 240. 
Rome, relations of, with Scotland, 

11 ; election of the bishop of, 
20 ; claims of supremacy of the 
bishop of, resented by Scotch 
people, 223. 

Romescot. See Peter's pence. 

Rosemarkin, Gregory, bishop of, 
45 ; Reinald, bishop of, 45. 

Roslin, Collegiate church at, 106. 

Ross, bishopric of, erected in 1128, 
8, II, 49 ; Robert, bishop of, 
12 13, 49 ; canonries of, 1235, 
63 ; particulars concerning 
the cathedral-chapter of, 1255, 
72 ; bishop of, canon and pre- 
bendary, 80 ; Robert, bishop 
of, 1227, 81 ; papal tax on the, 

Ross, Euphemia, countess of, and 
her husband, the Earl of 
Buchan, 28S. 

Rothwen canonry, 1425, 64, note. 

Roxburgh, legatine council at, 1125, 

Rutherglen deaner)-, 217. 

St. Andrews, ' Bishop of the Scots ' 
at, 7 ; bishopric of, il ; pro- 
posed for the metropolitan see, 

12 ; Walter Trail, bishop of, 
first metropolitan of Scotland, 
1386, 12 ; Patrick Graham, 
bishop of, 1466, 13, later arch- 
bishop of, 1465-1478, 330 ; dis- 
content caused by the metro- 
politan dignity of, 14 ; James 
Beaton, archbishopof, 17; 'epis- 
copus Scottorum,' 19; Robert, 
bishop of, 1558,20; James Bene, 
archdeacon of, 26 ; Henry 
Wardlaw, bishop of, 30 ; James 
Stewart, duke of Ross, arch- 
bishop of, 1497, 30 ; Alexander 
Stewart, archbishop of, 31 ; 
David de Bernham, bishop of, 
1239, 32, 48 ; Abel, presumably 
bishop of, 1254, 38 ; Gamelin, 
bishop of, 1254, 38, 49; Ead- 
mer, bishop of, 43 ; William of 



Malvoisine, bishop of, 1202, 
46, 49, 240 ; John the Scot, 
bishop of, 240 ; Robert de 
Stuteville, bishop of, c. 1253, 
46 ; Abel, bishop of, 47 ; Rich- 
ard, bishop of, 1 163, 48, 181 ; 
Roger, bishop of, 1189, 49; 
WiUiam Wischard, bishop of, 
1271,49,275; Andrew Forman, 
archbishop of, 5 r ; chapter, 59; 
University, foundation, 1410, 
99 ; Roger de Beaumont, 
bishop of, 1 199, 116; dispute 
of Saer de Quency with the 
canons of, 211 ; archdeacon of, 
213; WiHiam Scheres, arch- 
dene of, 1473, 221 ; papal tax 
on, 326. 

St. Augustine's, canons regular at 
St. Andrews, 206. 

St. David, Wales, bishop of, canon 
and prebendary, 80. 

St. Giles', Edinburgh, Collegiate 
church at, 106. 

St. Mary's Isle Abbey, 206. 

St. Edmundsbury, military service 
owed by, 158. 

Sacraments, the form of, 243. 

Sacrist, salary of the Aberdeen, 69. 

Salisbury, secular chapter at, 59 ; 
' use of,' 66 ; bishop of, canon 
and prebendary, 80 ; Richard 
Poore, bishop of, 1223, 144; 
military service owed by, 158. 

Sanctuaries, parish churches con- 
sidered as, 145, 148 ; privilege 
of, conferred by kings, 148; list 
of, 150, note ; Henry Hallam 
on, 151. 

Sanctuary, law and the right of, 
152 ; scales of fines for striking 
men in, i 54, note. 

Sarum Manual and the celebration 
of marriage, 255. 

Satyre of the tlirie Es/aitis, Linde- 
say's, ciuotation from, 188, 302. 

Scandals in churches, 125. 

Scheres, William, archdene of St. 
Andrews, 1473, 221. 

Scheves,archl)ishop, St. Andrews, 16. 

Schools, grammar, managed by 
the chancellor, 61. 

Scone Abbey, 206. 

Scone, parliament at, 1367, 203. 

'Scots, the Bishop of the,' 7. 

Scott, Micliael, the 'wizard,' 273. 

Seal, chapter, 37 ; careful keeping 
of the, 83. 

Seal, episcopal, distinct from chap- 
ter seal, 37. 

Sees. See Cathedrals. 

Semple, Collegiate church at, 106. 

Service, military, required by 
bishoprics and monasteries, 

Seton, Collegiate church at, 106. 

Sheep, tithe on, 162, 171 ; predial 
teinds on, 167. 

Shrift-silver, meaning of, 180. 

Simony, 179 ; example of, 328. 

Sinclair, Catherine, wife of Alex- 
ander Stewart, divorce of, 
1476, 294. 

Sinclair, James, parish clerk, 134. 

Sinclair, Robert, bishop of Dunkeld, 
1394, 119; and the abbat of 
Cambuskenneth, 1392, 208. 

Sodor. See Sudreys. 

Spalding, John, and the building 
of a manse, 93. 

Spalding, old and new, Clubs, pub- 
lications of, 4. 

Spence, Thomas, bishop of x\ber- 
deen, 1474, 15. 

Spirituality, first estate in Scot- 
land, 200. 

Spyny, cathedral at, c. 1215, 56. 

State, relations of Church and, 

Statutes ot the cathedral of Aber- 
deen, 1256, 74, 91 ; of Glasgow, 
1262, 77 ; of St. Edmund of 
Canterbury, 1236, 141 ; of 
Robert II., 1 371, 153. 

Statutes concerning guilty fugitives 
to sanctuary, 1230, 152 ; of 
provincial and diocesan synods, 
242; concerning marriage, thir- 
teenth century, 253 ; violated 
with papal dispensations, 314. 

Stephenson, William, bishop ot 
Dunblane, 1420, 299. 

Sterline, Gilbert, bishop of Aber- 
deen, 1239, 36. 

Steward, Alexander, canon ot 
Moray, 1351, 279. 

Steward, Thomas, benefice held by, 

Stewart, Ale.xander, mctrojiolitan 
by papal dispensation, 31. 

Stewart, .Alexander, divorce of, 
1476, 294. 

Stewart, James, King James III.'s 
son, metropolitan, 1497, 30, 51. 

Stipends of the vicars of the choir, 
65 ; of the Aberdeen vicars, 



66 ; increase of the, 69, 72) ! of 

perpetual vicars, 117. 
Stirling, 'Great Council' at, 121 1, 

Stratford, John, archbishop of 

Canterbury, 1342, 125. 
Strathbogie deanery, 217. 
Strathern, Earls of, and the 

bishopric of Dunblane, 10. 
Strathern deanery of, 216. 
Strathspey, deanery of, 217. 
Stuteville, Robert de, bishop of St. 

Andrews, c. 1253, 46. 
Subchanter or succentor, substitute 

of the precentor, 74. 
Subdean, substitute of the dean, 74. 
Subsidy, occasional tax paid to the 

bishop, 121. 
Sudreys, diocese of the, 9. 
Suffragans exempted from metro- 
politan jurisdiction, 16. 
Summons addressed to the clergy, 

Surtees Society, documents of the, 

. 39- . 

Swine, tithe on, 167. 

Synod, provincial, 1420, and the 
bishop of Galloway, 14 ; Scot- 
tish, twelfth century, statute of 
a, concerning the poverty of 
vicars, 116 ; last, before the 
Reformation, 1559, 183, 312; 
quotation from, 314. 

Synods, provincial, and the want 
of a metropolitan bishop, 1 1 ; 
efiforts of, to reform the church, 
125; last of, 1558, 190; or 
council of the Scottish church, 
223 ; provincial, composition 
of, 237 ; episcopal, 239 ; statutes 
of, 242. 

Synodals, tax paid to the bishop, 
Pope Honorius III. on, 117. 

System, parochial, of division of 
lands, 1 12. 

Tain, Collegiate church at, 106. 

Taverns, forbidden to the clergy, 

Tax, Cope-, meaning of the, 87 ; 
paid by canons on their ad- 
mission, 98. 

Taxes, papal, 320, 322, 324, 326 ; 
excommunication incurred 

through delay in paying, 330. 

Teinds. See Tithes. 

Temporalities, the Crown and, 53. 

Tenths, papal tax, 322. 

Teviotdale, archdeaconry of, 213. 

Teviotdale, deanery of, 217. 

Thefts in libraries, loi. 

Thor, foundation of a parish church 
by, III. 

Thornton, John, canon of Glasgow, 

Tithes, nature of, 65 ; divided 
between rectors and vicars, 
122 ; classification of, 162 ; 
payment of, 163 ; excommuni- 
cation for non-payment of, 166; 
things that had to pay tax, 167; 
personal, 168 ; fishing, 170 ; 
collecting, 172 ; exemptions 
from, 174; second, and the 
king's teind penny, 175 ; the 
king's can, 177. 

Toft, provided for canons, 91. 

Tomasi, Cardinal Vivian, at the 
Council of Edinburgh Castle, 
1 177, 240. 

Tonsure, obligatory, 248. 

Torres, Cardinal Giles, at a Scotch 
council, 1220, 241. 

Trail, Walter, first metropolitan of 
Scotland, 1386, 12. 

Treasurer, fourth canon of the 
chapter, duties of, 62. 

Trees, predial teinds on, 167. 

Trinity College, Edinburgh, Col- 
legiate church at, 106 ; cere- 
monies required by the foun- 
dress. Queen Mary of Gueldres, 
1462, 107 ; personal residence 
of the prebendaries at, 1 10. 

Trondhjem, archbishopric of, and 
the Orkneys and .Sudreys, 9. 

Tullynesle canonry, 1366, 63, note. 

Turgot, bishop of St. Andrews, 
1 109, 7 ; elected by the king of 
Scotland, 1 107, 19. 

Turref canonry, 1412,63, note. 

Twynam, Walter de, canon of 
Glasgow, 192. 

Tynningham, Adam de, bishop of 
Aberdeen, c. 1382, 166. 

Unction, Extreme, ceremonies of, 

Underwood, tithe on, 167. 
University of St. Andrews, 1410 ; 

Glasgow, 1450 ; Aberdeen, 

1495, 99 
Urban III., Pope, and the clergy's 

children, 315. 
Urban IV., Pope, and the Scotch 

benefices, 277. 



Urban V., Pope, and the bishop of 
Durham, 1363, 16. 

* Use of Salisbury,' followed in Scot- 
land, 66. 

Utensils belonging to a manse, 131. 

Valuation, new, of ecclesiastical 
property, 1275, 322. 

Vestments, given by the canon to 
the vicars of the choir, 68 ; 
in parish churches, 140. 

Vicar-general, functions of, 221. 

Vicars, perpetual or parochial, 
duties and stipend of, 64 ; of 
the choir or stallaries, duties 
and stipend of, 66 ; chosen 
mostly among priests, 70 ; 
origin of the posts of, 113; 
Pope Innocent III. and the, 
1207,115; maintenance of, 116; 
irremovable, 117; division of 
parochial revenues between 
rectors and, 121, 123. 

Vicci, Boiamund de, papal com- 
missioner, 1275, 3--- 

Vows commuted by papal dis- 
pensation, 332. 

Walter, bishop of Glasgow, 1207, 49; 
accusations against, 12 19, 47, 
n8 ; legatine powers granted 
to, 1 2 12, 240. 

Walter, bishop of Whitherne, 1209, 

Walter, bishop of Dunblane, 1361, 

Waltheof, abbat of Melrose, 11 58, 

Wardlaw, Henry, bishop of St. 

Andrews, 30. 

Wedale, famous sanctuary at, 149 ; 
violation of, 235. 

Wells, secular chapter at, 59. 

Westminster Council, 1200, 119 ; 
1175, 316. 

Whitherne and bishopric, 7 ; Walter, 
bishop of, 1209, 49 ; chapter, 
59 ; and the collected money, 

Will, power of making a, granted to 
a bishop of Glasgow, 1292, 196; 
granted to bishops, 1449, 198. 

Wills, probate of, dealt with in 
ecclesiastical courts, 299 ; exe- 
cutors of, 301 ; 'quot' money, 

William, bishop of Orkney, 1326, 

William, King, interference of, in 

Church matters, 27 ; grants 

by, 178. 
W^inchester, chapter at, 59; military 

service owed by, 158. 
W^ischard, William, bishop of St. 

Andrews, 1271,49; archdeacon 

of St. Andrews, 275. 
Women's suffrage in the election 

of parish clerks, 133. 
Wool, tithe on, 162, 167. 
Worcester, chapter at, 59 ; military 

service owed by, 158 ; William 

de Cantilupe, bishop of, 1240, 


Yester, Collegiate church at, 106. 

York, bishopric of, secular chapter 
at, 59 ; military service owed 
by, 158; provincial constitution 
of, 1250, 171 ; Roger, arch- 
bishop of, 1 164, 240. 

Glasgow: printed at the univeksity press dy kobbrt maclehosb and co. ltd. 

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